Tuesday, January 25
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Expats queue up for six-digit PIN number

26 Dec 2021 Expats queue up for six-digit PIN number By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Crowds of confused and excited expatriates were seen since early morning on Sunday at Royal Oman Police’s civil status office in Qurm. The crowd, comprising mostly of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Egyptian and Filipino nationals, queued up to generate their unique six-digit PIN number which is required, among other purposes, to renew employment contracts online.

In keeping with a Ministry of Labour deadline, private sector companies asked employees to get six-digit number for their resident cards before December 31. With precious few days remaining, the ROP office in Qurm witnessed a big rush of expatriate workers since early morning.

Running down the staircase from a second floor office in ROP’s Qurm complex, the queue snaked out to the front of the building. Not expecting such rush, there was a general sense of excitement as they called colleagues to inform and explain their delay in getting to work.

Bangladeshi national Mohammad Basheer Ahmed was asked by his public relations officer (PRO) to get his PIN last week. “We were informed about the deadline and told we’d land in trouble if it wasn’t done in time.”

He arrived by 8am and was surprised to see people were there before him. “Luckily, I finished in 30 minutes.”

As the crowds swelled, traffic to the complex built up and parking space ran out. But many parked in the earlier ROP office adjacent to the new complex.

F John, an Indian expatriate, arrived at Qurm at around 10.30am stood in the queue for 30 minutes before “an ROP officer collected the resident cards from all of us in the line. After about an hour, he returned the residents cards and announced the password – the same for all of us.”

John was informed by his PRO that he was renewing his work contract and that he needed the six-digit PIN and resident card for approval.

The common PIN generated by the ROP has confused most.

“When my PRO is asking for my resident card password, then what was the point in my going to generating the password myself? Also, if ROP is generating a common password for many expats, where is the secrecy and the need of hundreds of people to queue up at civil services offices during a pandemic and risk getting infected with COVID-19?” asked an expatriate speaking on the condition of anonymity.

According to a PRO of a private sector company, ROP earlier allowed PROs to take the resident cards of expat employees to generate the password on their behalf. “Later, they did not allow us to generate passwords. Employees were asked to go and create the six-digit password of his choice.”

Much to the relief of many and to ease down the rush, on Sunday the Ministry of Labour extended the deadline for completion of registration of expatriates’ work contracts.

‘An extra period has been given to institution owners to complete the registration of work contracts for their expatriate workforce until January 31, 2022,’ a ministry statement said.

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