In today’s business landscape, hiring foreign workers in Oman has become a competitive strategy for many businesses.

According to Oman Observer, the number of foreigners in the Sultanate has reached 1.776 million, with Bangladeshis making up the majority of migrant workers.

These migrants make a big contribution to the country’s economy.

Whether you’re a multinational corporation expanding into Oman or a local enterprise eager to tap into global talent, this blog is for you.

We’ll dive into the legal requirements, visa regulations, and practical strategies needed for successful international recruitment.


How to Sponsor and Hire Foreign Workers in Oman


Sponsoring a foreign worker in Oman is mainly your responsibility as an employer.

In order to comply with current immigration laws and regulations, you’ll need to obtain specific documents through the Ministry of Manpower.

These document requirements apply to individuals aged 21 to 60 who have received a job offer from a local company.

Read on to learn the exact steps you must take to hire foreign workers in Oman.


Step 1: Check if You Meet the Requirements for Obtaining a Permit from the Ministry of Manpower


The process of sponsoring non-Omani workers in the Sultanate is regulated by His Majesty’s Decree No. 35/2003 (the “Labor Law”).

Under Article 18 of the Labor Law, an employer must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Manpower before hiring foreign workers.

The Ministry of Manpower will grant you a permit under specific circumstances. These circumstances include:

  • There is an insufficient number of Omanis available to fill the vacancy.


  • Your company’s request for foreign staff aligns with its operational needs.


  • You have complied with the percentages of Omanization set by the Ministry of Manpower for your industry. An employer failing to meet Omanization percentages could face a fine ranging from OMR 250 to OMR 500 for each Omani employee the company should have hired.


  • You are committed to paying the prescribed fees.


  • You do not plan on sponsoring non-Omanis for specific positions for which the Ministry of Manpower imposed a ban on hiring foreigners. According to the Ministerial Decision No. 235/2022, 207 professions are reserved for Omanis. Some examples include the roles of security supervisor, social worker, receptionist, perfume seller, and sweet seller. To learn more about the Ministerial Decision No. 235/2022, please refer to this link.


Step 2: Recruit the Right Candidate


The next step you must take is to recruit the right candidate for the vacancy. As per the labor law, the candidates you recruit must have the technical skills or qualifications necessary for the role.

To ensure you find the perfect fit, make sure you post your job ad on VideoWorkers – your go-to recruiting platform.

You’ll find a wide range of talent from all over the world, each with a short skills video, so you can see their abilities in action. This goes beyond what traditional resumes can show.

Once you’ve found the perfect fit, you may send them an offer letter.

If the candidate is currently employed, you should clearly communicate that they should not resign until you’ve secured the necessary hiring authorization.

This is because the timeframe for obtaining permission from the Ministry of Manpower can, at times, exceed the expected duration due to a number of factors. These factors include the type of employment, the worker’s nationality, and the current workload of the Ministry of Manpower.

Important note: If an employee needs to change jobs or end their contract early, they must leave Oman for at least two years, unless they get a No Objection Certificate.

The certificate must state that both their former employer and Oman’s government agree with them working in the country.

Sometimes, obtaining this authorization can be a lengthy and complex process. That’s why it’s best to check whether the candidate worked in Oman within the last two years and left their job early.


Step 3: Obtain Permission to Hire Foreign Workers in Oman


To initiate the sponsorship process, you must submit your application for a labor license to the competent directorate of the Ministry of Manpower.

This allows you to obtain the “labor clearance” status. In most cases, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • An Omanization plan detailing the specific job positions that will be open for Omani nationals at a given time


  • A list of desired foreign workers. The list should specify their positions and gender


  • A passport copy for each foreign worker you intend to hire


  • Certified copies of relevant professional certificates


  • Certified transcripts from educational institutions


  • Authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the worker’s home country


  • Authentication from the Omani Embassy in the worker’s home country


Application fees vary between OMR 140 to OMR 2000, depending on the position. However, for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), lower fees may apply in their first two years of establishment.

Please be aware that it may take between one month and one year to obtain labor clearance to hire foreign workers in Oman.


Step 4: Sign an Employment Contract


After receiving approval from the Ministry of Manpower, you may send an employment contract to all candidates who satisfy the conditions for the labor clearance.

According to Article 21 of the Labor Law, the employment contract should be in Arabic. If the contract is in a different language, you need to draft one copy in Arabic.

The agreement should contain the worker’s declaration, demonstrating their commitment to:

  • Follow the work terms and conditions in the contract


  • Show respect for the country’s Islamic religion, laws, customs, and social traditions


  • Avoid any actions that could harm the country’s security


Step 5: Obtain an Employment Visa


At this stage of the hiring process, you must apply for an employment visa for each of your future employees.

You can submit the application through the one-stop shop of the Royal Oman Police. The documents you need to attach to the application are as follows:

  • Electronic form available on the Royal Oman Police website


  • Two photographs (6X4 cm)


  • Copy of the worker’s passport


  • Labor License from the Ministry of Manpower


  • Medical certificate attested by the Ministry of Health (applicable for nationals of  Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria and Nepal)


  • Approval of the relevant organization (applicable for specific professionals such as teachers and doctors)


  • If the foreigner previously worked in Oman and left within the past two years, you must submit a release letter from their former employer. The letter must be approved by the Directorate General of Passports and Residence


The fee for an employment visa for Oman is OMR 20.

The processing time for an employment visa varies between 1 and 7 days.


Step 6: Your Worker Applies for a Residence Card


All workers who reside in the Sultanate of Oman must hold a residence ID card. This is an electronic card containing essential information about the holder.

Within 30 days of entering Oman, your workers must apply in person for a residence card at any of the Directorates General of Civil Status.

Here are the documents they must submit to get an ID card:

  • Application form fully completed and signed


  • Valid passport (copy and original)


  • For foreigners employed in the public sector: A letter from the employer stating the employee’s designation and a copy of the manpower application form along with the original


  • One photo with a blue background

The fee for the issuance of the residence card is OMR 10. Once your employee has their residence card, they can start working.

For more information about the residence card, please visit this page.


Hiring Foreign Workers in Oman: Further Considerations


When hiring foreign workers in Oman, remember to take into account the following key aspects, as outlined in the Labor Law:

  • You must not let any foreigner sponsored by you work for another employer.


  • You are not allowed to charge foreign workers any fees related to their employment.


  • For each foreign worker, you must create a special file including information such as their name, age, place of residence, occupation, qualifications, wage, and other information related to their employment. You must keep the file for a minimum of one year after the service termination date.


The Bottom Line


The process of hiring foreign workers in Oman involves important considerations and legal obligations.

While the procedures may seem complex, careful planning and strict compliance can pave the way for successful employment.

Hopefully, this article has shed light on the essential aspects of understanding Oman’s labor laws, navigating the Omanization initiative, and adhering to visa and work permit procedures.

The insights provided here aim to be a valuable resource for making well-informed decisions when recruiting foreign talent in the Sultanate of Oman.

Ready to hire globally? VideoWorkers is your launchpad. Sign up for your free company account now and unlock a world of opportunity, with access to the biggest talent pool of candidates ready to join your company in Oman.

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