Friday, September 17
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End of NOC era in Oman

30 Dec 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Oman’s move to scrap the No Objection Certificate (NOC) system from January 1, 2021, is a significant development in the country’s labour reforms with experts in the field saying that the move is expected to make the market more fluid, enabling companies to attract the right people for right jobs.

According to the government, the move to end the requirement of an NOC while transferring an expat worker from one employer to another will aid the competitiveness of the Omani labour market and correct conditions. 

An NOC from the current employer is mandatory now for expatriates to change jobs.

International as well as local employment and human resources professionals say that in the long run these changes will ultimately help attract world-class talent. The changes are also in line with professional standards that can stimulate the work environment and contribute to the national economy.

Luke Tapp, partner and head of employment practice at Pinsent Masons Middle East, said, “The removal of the requirement for expat employees to obtain NOCs to transfer employers will provide employees and companies with more flexibility when it comes to recruiting new employees or changing employers within the country. The longer term impact of these changes is that they will ultimately help to attract world class talent from all regions into Oman.”

He added that labour reforms will have a very positive impact on companies and their employees operating within Oman, working to improve the levels of trust and employee engagement, and ultimately making doing business in Oman easier. 

“These changes will have a progressive impact on the approach to people management and HR policies within Oman,” Tapp said.

“The announcement is also in line with the sultanate’s commitment to its Vision 2040 programme, which seeks to diversify the economy away from oil and towards non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, logistics and tourism. However, given current economic volatility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil price dip, the government has insufficient funds to carry out legacy spending commitments that form part of Vision 2040,” he added.

Mohammed al Maimani, a board member of the Omani Society for Human Resource Management (OSHRM), said the move will help to streamlining the labour market as per international requirements. 

“Besides streamlining the labour market, it’ll give expatiates their rights as per human rights groups’ requirements. Expatriate talents can move around the country freely,” he said.

Govind Arjan, a corporate communications professional, who is seeking better career opportunities, said, “Long awaited and eagerly anticipated, this move provides a level playing field, equitable and just, to both employers and employees. I welcome this move because it guarantees freedom of movement to employees, which is a universal fundamental right, upon completion of the work contract.”

“At the same time, employers too can protect their commercial interests by including conditions in the employment contract like non-disclosure of trade secrets, not joining a direct competitor for a specified time period, etc, after leaving the previous employer. A welcome move on all fronts, I would not be surprised if a few employers and employees are still disgruntled with this move, as it is not possible to keep everyone happy,” he added.

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