The number of employment visas issued in the Sultanate during 2018 witnessed a significant drop compared to the previous two years. According to figures available from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), while 373,511 job visas were issued in 2017 and 369,691 in 2016, they dropped to 295,888 in 2018. A total of 278,674 employment visas were cancelled in 2018 compared to 281,984 in 2017.
At the same time, the number of resident visas issued dropped to 478,414 in 2018 from 543,738 in 2017 and 657,786 in 2016.
Experts see the drop as a result of the efforts by the authorities to regulate the job market.
The fall in the number of job visas indicates nationals got more job opportunities, an expert said.
There have been several restrictions on recruitment of expatriates in various professions.
Meanwhile, the number of visit and tourist visas issued has been increasing compared to the decline in the employment visas issued during the same period.
According to NCSI figures, the number of visit visas issued in 2018 increased substantially to 804,085 from 455,853 in 2017 and 419,635 in 2016. The number of tourist visas issued in 2018 increased to 380,157 in 2018 from 123,983 in 2017 and 129,020 in 2016.
This is largely to the coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Royal Oman Police to streamline the overall visa process to boost the number of inbound tourists, said Yousuf Mohammed, proprietor of a travel agency. Earlier, it was mandatory to have hotel bookings for tourist visas, which has been now done away with, he added.
Data also shows that a total of 59,024 relatives joining visas were issued in 2018 compared to 55,382 visas in 2017 and 51,969 in 2016.
A total of 115,227 relatives joining visas were renewed in 2018 compared to 114,630 in 2017. Only 193 sponsor transfers took place in 2018 compared to 281 in 2017.
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