Illegal expatriate workers shun amnesty to leave Oman

DATE: 08-Jul-2015

Muscat: As the clock ticks down on an amnesty for illegal expats in Oman, figures show that fewer than a fifth of the expected number have come forward. There are only 24 more days left until the July 31 deadline runs out on the three-month long amnesty period. While around 50,000 undocumented and overstaying expatriates were expected to accept amnesty, only 8,000 have taken advantage of it so far and flown home. The amnesty, which began on May 3, provides an opportunity to undocumented and overstaying workers to go home without facing any legal action for violating their residency status and Oman’s labour laws. Data from four major Asian countries’ embassies revealed that around 8,334 undocumented and overstaying migrant workers have already flown back home by making use of the opportunity. “Around 4,000 have already left the country and around 12,000 have registered, waiting for the papers to be cleared,” an official from the Bangladesh embassy told the Times of Oman. “We are trying our best to spread the message of amnesty to the interior areas and persuade our citizens who are staying illegally in Oman to make use of this opportunity,” the official added. So far, with the available data, Bangladeshi citizens top the number who have made use of the amnesty. Oman has carried out similar amnesty programmes in 2005 and 2010. At the time of 2010 amnesty, around 60,000 undocumented migrant workers, mainly from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, had left the country, according to embassy officials.