Mixed reaction from Oman hoteliers to visa rules

Foreigners must complete 2 years with employer before moving in Oman

Operators, Expats, Grand hyatt muscat, Oman, Park inn by radisson, Ramada, Visas

Hoteliers in Oman have cautiously welcomed new visa rules for foreign workers and a possible driver for staff retention, although they have also indicated that it could hamper recruitment efforts.

Earlier this month, the government announced it was tightening the rules on expats moving between jobs by insisting they have to have completed at least two years in a post before transferring to another employer.

From June 1, expats who haven't completed two years in a role will have to leave Oman for two years before returning to take on another role.

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Grand Hyatt Muscat general manager Garry Friend explained some of the upsides to the new rules.

“There are benefits to this rule such as retaining employees and creating a more loyal workforce,” he said. “This will ultimately lead to lower expenses because of tickets, relocations costs, visa and accommodation is kept to a minimum.”

Park Inn by Radisson Muscat general manager Rabih Zein also welcomed the new rules. He believes it could help to reduce staff turnover rates, which currently stand at around 30-40% a year.

He said: “I think it will help us to keep the stability of the workforce and stability of pay.”

However, Ramada Muscat Hotel general manager Soha Abdel Kader pointed out that increased retention because of the new rules would not necessarily be a good thing.

“In my opinion you cannot retain staff because they are afraid they will not be able to come to the country again,” she commented. “They will not produce; they will be idle.”

With most of his staff usually moving on to roles in hotels abroad, Friend agreed there was a limit to the effectiveness of the rules.

“When you employ the right staff, there will be an understanding that employees have a two year contract binding them to that organisation,” he said. “However if staff want to leave, they will leave whether this rule is available or not.”

He also said it would hamper efforts to recruit expats from within Oman, something Soha Abdel Kader is also particularly concerned about.

“I believe it will have a negative impact on the expertise we have in the industry,” she said. “When you get someone with experience in the same country it is much better than having someone coming from abroad. It is always easier to interview someone in person.”

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