Muscat: The number of arrivals of Bangladeshi nationals to Oman dropped by over 20% since Oman banned the issuance of visas for them across all categories from October 31, 2023.

According to a report from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, (NCSI), the number of Bangladeshi nationals arriving in Oman stood at 22,312 at the end of December, 2023.

While in September, the number of Bangladeshi arrivals stood at 28,201 - making a drop of over 20 percent in the last three months.

In a circular issued on October 31, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals.

In a statement, the ROP said, “The ROP, within its review of the policies for obtaining some types of visas, announces the suspension of the conversion of all types of tourist and visit visas to work visas for all nationalities coming to the Sultanate of Oman, as well as the issuance of all types of new visas for Bangladeshi citizens, effective Tuesday (October 31, 2023) till further notice.”

Soon after the visa ban, the Bangladesh Embassy in Muscat issued a statement saying that the visa ban will be ‘temporary in nature.’ The embassy said that the decision was taken after a comprehensive periodical review by relevant Omani authorities of existing laws regulating the expatriate labour market ‘to ensure that it meets the current demands, maintain its stability and to protect the rights of expatriate workers and their employers in accordance with the law’.

According to the embassy, “The relevant authorities are exerting all efforts to complete the review process as quickly as possible, after which they will resume issuing visas in accordance with the guidelines during the review process.’

One of the reasons for the temporary suspension, the embassy stated, is to resolve the issue of an increasing number of laid-off workers in the market who resort to working illegally without having full legal protection and rights. ‘The review will ensure that workers and employers’ rights are fully protected.’

Sirajul Haque, Chairman of Bangladesh Social Club Oman, hoped that visas for Bangladeshi nationals would open soon. “We are very hopeful that the visas of some sectors will be opened very soon as there are a lot of people who are willing to come to Oman and work,” he said.

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