Expats who work in government agencies can now sponsor visa applicants, according to a decision by the Royal Oman Police (ROP).
Lieutenant General Hassan bin Mohsin Al Shuraiqi, Inspector General of Police and Customs, issued Decree number 129/2018 to amend some of the provisions of the Executive Regulations of the Aliens Residence Law.
The amendments allow foreigners who own certain properties in the Sultanate to receive a visa without a sponsor, as well as enable expatriates working for a government agency to become sponsors themselves.
The new decision includes changes and additions to Articles 1, 2, 10, 14, 29, and 30 of Decree No 63/96.
Expatriates who work for a government agency can now be sponsors, according to Article 8 of the new decree. The decree, with the new amendments, states that a visa sponsor must either be an Omani, licenced foreign investor, or an expatriate employee of a government agency.
An official from the ROP confirmed the decision, saying: “This means that expatriates will be able to become sponsors of their own family members as long as they meet certain conditions.”
Paragraphs 15 and 16 of article 10 detail the regulations on visas for foreign residential owners.
According to paragraph 15, a foreigner who owns a building in a completed tourist complex can be issued an owner-visa without a sponsor. Additionally, there is a “visa for joining an owner” which is issued for the spouse of the foreign owner and family members of the first degree.
Move to attract foreign investors: Shura member
Jamal Al Abri, Shura member and Chairman of the Committee to address the Repercussions of the Economic Crisis on Society, said: “This decree will definitely help the Sultanate achieve its goal of making Oman an attractive area for foreign investors. An expatriate owning a building in a tourist complex means that it will aid in attracting more tourists. Both locals and expats can fund such complexes.”
This decision does not include buildings that are outside tourist complexes. “If the building is outside such complexes, it risks competing with local owners, for instance, in rent, “Al Abri explained.
Amendments made to Article 10 paragraph 3 (a) now divide tourist visas into three categories based on 10 days, one month, and one-year durations.
Additionally, Article 10 Paragraph 3 (b) now details which visa the residents of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can apply for while looking to visit the Sultanate without a sponsor.
Residents of other GCC states who would like to visit Oman can do so as tourists, and stay for up to four weeks without a sponsor. Upon the expiration of the four-week period, the tourist visa can then be extended for another week on the condition that they entered Oman one month from the date the visa was issued.
Fines for not exiting the country upon the expiration of the visa are now set at OMR10 per day for all visa categories.
An expat who works for a government agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the decision was a good one.
“If expats working for government agencies are allowed to be sponsors to their families, then they’ll find they are in a much more comfortable position to bring their families to Oman. It is a good move.”
“What it will do is encourage people to spend more money here. When your family is here, you’ll obviously spend more money in Oman for schooling and the like. Less money will be remitted to the home countries of the expats. Both foreign workers and the government will benefit from the move,” he added.
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