Oman temporarily bans expats in 87 profession

Ministry plans to provide 25,000 jobs to Omani nationals in various sectors

Muscat: Oman’s minister of manpower Shaikh Abdullah Al Bakri on Sunday issued a decision banning the issuance of new visas for workers in 87 professions in the private sector for six months. The decision states: “The decision temporarily prohibits hiring of expatriate manpower in private sector establishments for six months. Work permits issued before the date of implementation of this decision are exempted.”

The jobs that will be impacted include those in media, airlines, accounting, management, medical, information systems and insurance sectors.

 
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Last week, Oman’s Council of Ministers said it was following up on the implementation of plans to provide 25,000 jobs to Omani nationals in various sectors in the next six months.

“The Council of Ministers is closely monitoring the progress of employment procedures on a weekly basis in order to get first-hand knowledge of what has been achieved and deal with any challenges that might obstruct implementation of plans,” a statement issued by the council said.

Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, said providing employment to Omanis is a national duty. He pointed out that Oman’s economy is capable of rising to the challenge but this requires the regularisation of the labour market. “The government is working hard to achieve [its aims] so that the labour market can handle the requirements of each stage of development ...”, he said.

MoH adopted online appointment for jobs

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The Ministry of Health has adopted a new mechanism for the appointment of doctors and technicians through its website and email, reports Al-Anba daily.

This mechanism aims to unify all authorities which receive applications of doctors and technicians; such that it includes vacancy announcements based on the request of the heads of medical boards and specialized departments as well as the Central Department director.

ANNOUNCEMENT KUWAIT ON ROAD USERS AND MOTORISTS

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ANNOUNCEMENT : DO NOT EXCEED THE SPEED ALLOWED IN THE "SECURITY LANE"
The Ministry of the Interior called on road users and motorists to adhere to the specified speed when walking in the security lane, without exceeding the specified rate of 45 kilometers, and it is used only in times of emergency and on specific dates.
The Ministry said, "Dear driver of the vehicle when driving on the shoulder of the road" hot lane "Please take into account the speed allowed in the traffic law 45 km for your safety and the safety of road users Remember to use it at specific times from 6 am to 10 pm In case of emergency and the presence of ambulance please Need to make way for it. "

MoI issues general amnesty guidelines

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Director General of the Residency Affairs Directorate Maj Gen Talal Maarafi issued a circular yesterday in which he mentioned the procedures of benefiting from an amnesty decision by Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah to allow residency violators to leave the country from Jan 29 until Feb 22 from any airport or border post without paying fines.

The circular includes:
* Every department should designate a certain number of employees to receive violators and complete the necessary procedures to correspond with the criminal detectives department so that regular work is not affected.

* Grant residency to violators who want it if they meet the conditions and pay fines regardless of the violation period and nationality of the violator (except for travel document holders).

The following will be taken into consideration with regards to the violation period:

* Regular and temporary residencies as well as visit visas must have expired before Jan 24, 2018.

* People who entered the country with visit visas on Jan 23, 2018 or earlier should leave before Feb 22, 2018.

* People who entered the country with work or residency visas that expired on Jan 23, 2018 or earlier will be given a temporary residency and must leave the country before Feb 22, 2018, unless they get a regular residency visa according to the rules.

For persons who are reported to have absconded, the following applies:

* Absconders are allowed to leave the country directly during the period mentioned in the ministerial decision, whether holders of article 18 or 20 residencies, provided that the absconding report is dated before Jan 24, 2018.

* For holders of regular and temporary residencies as well as entry visas expiring on Jan 24, 2018 or after this date, regular procedures apply, as they are not under the amnesty decision.

Those who have lost their passports and received new passports or travel documents should fill up a loss form to be stamped by the designated employee at the residency detectives department, followed by these procedures:

* If a residency or visa is found that ended before Jan 24, 2018, it will be matched with the person’s file at the department or the original civil ID if it exists, then the unified number will be written on the last page of the new passport or document and stamped with the department’s seal, so violators can leave the country without having to transfer passport data.

If it is not possible to get any information or no information is available of the violator, a form will be given to the person and they will be asked to go to the criminal evidence department. When they return, the following steps will be taken:

* If it is found that a residency or a visa exists, the abovementioned procedures will be followed.

* If there is no data for them, a database will be created and a temporary residency will be issued on the computer only without a unified number. The document will be stamped with the department’s seal, and violators will be asked to leave the country and will not be allowed to correct their status.

* If data exist of the person at the security supervision system that matches the data at the criminal evidence department, and if there is difference in the data in the new passport or travel document, the name and data will be corrected as per the passport.

* If the person is found wanted for another reason other than violation of the residency law, they will be arrested immediately and sent to the concerned authority.

 

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Large crowd visits Embassy to seek Amnesty support

On the first day of Amnesty announced by the Kuwaiti authorities, Indian Embassy in Kuwait witnessed large crowd of people who came to seek support for availing the amnesty scheme. More than 2000 people who wish to utilise the amnesty scheme visited Indian Embassy today to enquire about the procedures and to get Emergency certificates.

Kuwait Government last week announced Amnesty scheme for expatriates without valid residency to leave the country. According to the amnesty scheme, any expatriates without valid residency can leave the country without paying fine. Those who leave the country during this amnesty period are allowed to enter Kuwait again if they meet the regular conditions of entry and if they were not banned for another reason. The amnesty period is from January 29 to February 22, 2018.

Expatriates who have any kind of travel ban related to any cases cannot use this opportunity unless their case is closed. However expats who have absconding case filed by their sponsors can leave the country using this scheme. 

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Any illegal resident who have a valid passport with him can leave the country directly without any procedure. They don’t need to visit Embassy for travel, informed sources from Indian Embassy. Residency violators with valid passport can buy the ticket and go to airport directly.

However expatriates who don’t have their passport with them or passport is expired are requested to get Emergency Certificate (EC) from Indian embassy. They can download the EC application form from this link and submit the filled form at Indian Embassy or any other community volunteers arranged by various community associations across the country. Embassy will issue the Emergency Certificate after two to three working days. The charge for EC certificate is 5 KD. The residency violators can leave the country using the EC certificate issued by the Embassy. 

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Community Organisation such as Kala Kuwait, Kuwait Kerala Muslim Association (KKMA), Kuwait Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KKMCC) etc has arranged support for the Indian community to avail the amnesty scheme at their centre across the country. Community members can contact the Kala Kuwait volunteers at Abbasiya(66829397, 66646578, 60685849), Fahaheel(97264683, 65198975), Salmiya (99122984, 55484818), and Abu Halifa (97233692, 98853813). Community volunteers from Kala Kuwait are providing all kind of assistance to those who wish to utilise this opportunity, Kala Kuwait officials told.

Parliamentary panel rejects proposal to impose tax on expat remittance

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The parliamentary Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee on Monday unanimously rejected the proposal to impose tax on remittances of expatriates because it is unconstitutional.

Earlier, the proposal was submitted by a number of lawmakers, who had proposed to impose a five-percent tax on remittances made by expatriates to help boost non-oil revenues to finance the budget.

According to local media report, some MPs pointed out the proposal is illegal, as the tax amount is more than the Zakat (2.5 percent) which is collected once a year while the tax on remittances will be collected monthly. They warned that this proposal, once implemented, will prompt expatriates to go through illegal channels to send money back home.

The Kuwait Central Bank had also rejected the idea, saying it is not in line with Kuwaiti laws and warned of its negative impacts on the national economy. The 3.1 million expatriates living and working in Kuwait send around $18 billion to their families in their home countries every year.

FILIPINOS TO FLY OUT FREE – Thousand register to avail Kuwait amnesty

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Around a thousand undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait trooped to the Philippine Embassy on Monday in Al Siddique area on the first day of the amnesty to apply for travel documents and schedule their fingerprinting to have their status checked for the processing of their exit clearance.

The Ministry of Interior issued on Jan 23, 2018 a Ministerial Decision No. 64/2018 stipulating regulations for expatriates, whose residency applications were rejected or those with expired residency permits, to rectify their status or leave the country. The amnesty period will be from Jan 29, 2018 to Feb 22, 2018.

Undocumented
“According to Colonel Mishal Ayed Al Shinfa, the Director of the Department of Investigation Affairs and Department of Follow- Up Management of Offenders at the Ministry of Interior, aside from overstaying and undocumented expats, the amnesty also covers those who have absconding cases and those who are in jail due to expired visas and residence violations,” disclosed Philippine Charge d’ Affaires Noordin Pendosina Lomondot to the Arab Times.

 

Lomondot who recently arrived in Kuwait was part of the Philippine Rapid Response Team that helped thousands of undocumented Filipinos in Saudi Arabia go home during the amnesty in the Kingdom. He cited that there are around 10,000 undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait based on the records of the Ministry of Interior.

Most of the undocumented Filipinos worked as household service workers who ran away from their employers due to various forms of abuses such as physical, sexual or verbal abuse, non-payment of salary and overwork.

Some of the undocumented Filipinos braved the cold morning on Monday and queued as early as 4:00 am outside the embassy, just to make sure that they get to register on the first day as it is on a ‘firstcome- first-served’ basis. “My friends and I woke up so early today. We’re all excited to go home. Thanks to the Kuwaiti government for the amnesty,” stated Weesha who was able to get inside the embassy at 9:00 am.

Virginia, another undocumented for 18 years in Kuwait expressed mixed emotions as she lined up outside the embassy. “I feel so happy and at the same time sad because Kuwait has been my second home for the past 18 years. It was not easy to live with no papers. You’re always on the lookout if you see police authorities but thank God, I survived and was able to work for 18 years and it’s time for me to go home now and be with my family,” she pointed out.

Lomondot announced that the Philippine government will provide free tickets to all undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait who will go home under the Kuwait amnesty program. “We have already drafted a request to the Department of Foreign Affairs particularly to the Office of Undersecretary for Migrant Workers to provide funding for repatriation tickets. We have already coordinated with the Philippine Airlines and Kuwait Airways because these are the airlines with direct flights to the Philippines,” he stated.

To all those who want to avail the amnesty, they have to go to the embassy and bring with them six passport size photos with blue background, photocopy of their passport, Civil ID or any valid ID. The embassy has posted nine steps in the Amnesty Application Flow:

Step 1: Registration/Assessment

Step 2: Fill up application form. Submit the following documents: passport copy, Civil ID copy and 6 pieces passport size pictures

Step 3: Verification

Step 4: Verification Results – if applicant is qualified he/she will proceed to Step 5

Step 5: Fingerprinting

Step 6: Embassy will notify applicants of fingerprinting result and if he/she is qualified for amnesty

Step 7: Immigration stamping/ Exit permit

Step 8: Flight Scheduling Step 9: Repatriation

Hotline
For any query, they may call the embassy amnesty hotline 65002612 “According to Col Al Shinfa, all those who have their passport and don’t have any absconding case, they can buy their air ticket and go straight to the airport and fly home.

They will put two lines at the airport exclusive for amnesty seekers only,” informed Lomondot as he thanked Col Al Shinfa and the Kuwait government for their assistance.

The Philippine Embassy urges all undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait to avail the amnesty and go home without paying any penalty while those who want to stay may correct their residence status by paying the penalty and doing the necessary residence visa procedures. “We hope all the 10,000 undocumented Filipinos will avail the amnesty though our target will be 7,000 as some may still opt to stay,” stated Lomondot.

Amnesty period
The amnesty period for violators of residency law to leave the country from any port of the country without paying the relevant fines started on Jan 29 and will continue until Feb 22. In a press release issued by Ministry of Interior, Director General of General Department of Residency Affairs Major General Talal Ibrahim Marafie urged residents, who are in violation of the residency law, to take advantage of the humanitarian gesture made by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah who issued Ministerial Decision No. 64/2018 for granting this amnesty period.

He explained that residency law violators who are allowed to leave during this amnesty period without paying fines are:

1. Individuals whose normal or temporary residence permits expired before Jan 24, 2018

2. Individuals who entered the country on visit, residence, tourist, multiple- entry or transit visas but the period of their stay in the country expired before Jan 24, 2018

3. Individuals whose passports expired before Jan 24, 2018 and have valid residency but wish to leave the country

4. Individuals who were reported as absconders before Jan 24, 2018 regardless of the type of residency they hold

5. Workers of the civil or domestic labor sector who were reported as absentees after Jan 4, 2016

Parents of newborns who were granted residency under them must visit the respective residency affairs department based on the address of their residence in Kuwait in order to settle the status of their newborns within this amnesty period.

Major General Talal Marafie called on the violators of residency law to either amend their legal status quickly by obtaining a valid residence permit after paying the relevant fines or leave the country during the period stipulated by the ministerial decision.

He stressed that those who rectify their legal status and continue to stay in Kuwait shall enjoy health, educational and other services provided by the government. Major General Talal Marafie affirmed that violators who leave the country voluntarily during this amnesty period can return on new procedures, adding those who are caught after the amnesty period will be deported and will not be allowed to return to Kuwait again. He affirmed that Ministry of Interior is serious in tracking down violators and will apply law on them indiscriminately.

Major General Talal Marafie urged the sponsors of violating residents to handover the passports of the violators so that the latter can benefit from amnesty period and leave the country unless they are wanted by law for any other cases. He indicated about an integrated plan based on instructions of the Supreme Command of Ministry of Interior to eliminate this phenomenon.

Major General Talal Marafie revealed that the total number of individuals who can benefit from the decision is 15,436. He called on all concerned embassies and consulates to urge their nationals who are in violation of the residency law to take advantage of the ministerial decision.

Controls and criteria 
Meanwhile, Al-Anba daily reported that Major General Talal Marafie issued Circular No. 28/2018, which sets the controls and criteria for implementing the decision. The circular aims at proper interpretation of the resolution, clarification of the vision and development of the working mechanism. It has several points related to the violators and ways to benefit from the decision.

As per the circular, each immigration department shall assign a number of efficient employees to receive violators and complete the necessary procedures to address the General Department of Criminal Evidences so that regular work progress would not be affected.

Residency shall be granted to the violators of residency law if they are willing to obtain it and meet the necessary conditions.

Violators shall be asked to pay the relevant fines regardless of the duration of the violation and the nationality of the violators (except holders of travel documents).

The date of commencement of the violation shall take into account the normal and temporary residence permits and work permits that expired before Jan 24, 2018.

Those who entered the country on work permits or visit visas on or before Jan 23, 2018 must leave the country before Feb 22, 2018.

Those who entered the country on work permits or visit visas and whose residency period expired on or before Jan 23, 2018 shall be granted temporary residence but they must leave the country before Feb 22, 2018 unless they obtain a residence permit in accordance with the conditions prescribed.

Those who are reported as wanted by law for absconding from their work are allowed to leave the country directly from any port within the period specified in the Ministerial Decision No. 64/2018 irrespective of whether their residency is under Article 18 or 20, provided that they were reported as absconding before Jan 24, 2018.

Normal procedures will be applied on holders of regular and temporary residence permits and work permits that expired on or after Jan 24, 2018, as the provisions of the resolution do not apply to them. Those who lost their passports and received new passports or travel documents shall fill the relevant form for reporting the loss of passport. The form shall be stamped by the concerned employee of the General Department of Residence Affairs Investigations.

The following procedures shall apply:- a) If the expiry date of the residence permit or visa is before Feb 24, 2018, it shall be matched with his/her personal file in the Immigration Department or the original civil card, if any.

The unified number shall be written in the last page of the passport or travel document and stamped by the department so that they can leave the country without the need for transferring data on passport. b) If it is not possible to obtain the data of the violator or if there is no data at all, a form shall be provided to the applicant to check with the Criminal Investigations Department.

In this case, the following procedures shall apply in the next visit of the violator:- n If the residence permit or visa of the violator is found, the abovementioned procedure (a) shall apply.

■  If no data is found, a database shall be created and the violator shall be granted temporary residence in computer only without the unified number on the last page of the passport or travel document. The passport shall be stamped by the Immigration Department and the violator shall be asked to leave the country, but change in status shall not be allowed.

■ In case the data of the person is present in the security control system and matches with the data received from the General Department of Criminal Evidences but there is a difference in the data in the new passport or travel document, the name and other details shall be amended according to the new passport or travel document.

■ If there is an arrest warrant against the violator for any reason other than violation of residency law, he/she shall be immediately arrested and referred to the concerned authority for taking necessary legal action.

Meanwhile, there are currently 300,000 overseas jobs available in China for the Filipino workers, as per the announcement made by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello on Jan 28, 2018.

It can be recalled that the Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday, Jan 26, that he will seek help of China to open its doors for the Filipinos if the maltreatment to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Kuwait continues.

China is in need of English teachers, musicians, nurses, cooks, household service workers, and caregivers, according to a CNN report.

The bilateral agreement, which will be signed by the two countries next month, will cover the salaries, working hours, benefits, and protection of the rights of Filipino workers to prevent abuses committed against the OFWs. Bello advised the job-seekers to only apply at the agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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ANNOUNCEMENT KUWAIT

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Kuwait The MOI has declared recently an amnesty period from Jan 29 to Feb 22 which are likely to benefit thousands of illegal expatriates who do not possess residency or have expired residence permits to either legalize their status or leave the country without being blacklisted.

Kabul declares day of mourning

The death toll of the attack claimed by the Taliban is at 100

Kabul: Afghanistan on Sunday declared a day of national mourning after a huge bomb hidden in an ambulance killed nearly 100 people in Kabul, sharply raising tensions as insurgents struck in the city for the second time in a week.

At least 95 people were killed and 191 wounded in Saturday's lunchtime attack, claimed by the Taliban, which caused panic in the war-torn capital and overwhelmed its hospitals.

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Kabul remained on high alert as the presidential palace declared a national day of mourning for Sunday, with flags flying at half-mast. The attack was one of the worst to strike the capital in recent years.

Central Kabul was unusually quiet on Sunday, a normal workday in Afghanistan, with little traffic and few people on the street.

In contrast, security checkpoints have been beefed up, particularly in the streets near the blast scene, as the city braced for the possibility of further violence.

A security alert issued on Sunday warned that Daesh, which claimed a deadly attack on Save the Children's office in Afghanistan's east on Wednesday, was planning to attack supermarkets and shops in Kabul frequented by foreigners.

US President Donald Trump called for "decisive action" against the Taliban over the assault as other international leaders also condemned the attack.

"We have 95 dead and 191 wounded from yesterday's attack in Kabul," health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh told reporters on Sunday.

Most of the injured were men, he added.

'WE ARE SO HEARTBROKEN'

Ordinary Afghans took to social media to express their anguish and sorrow at rapidly worsening security as the Taliban and Daesh militants step up attacks on Kabul, turning it into one of the deadliest places in Afghanistan for civilians. "We are so heartbroken in Kabul that we don't know how to start our new day," Freshta Karim wrote on Twitter.

"Shall we stay home or go to work? shall we meet our friends and cry or shall we force ourselves to create an illusion of hope? How are you starting your day in Kabul?"

Naser Danesh tweeted: "In Kabul starting a day without explosion, it would be a surprise. One could only imagine that kind of a day."

On Facebook, Naweed Qaderi wrote: "It is a big shame for the government, they repeatedly fail to protect people. The leaders must lose a son or daughter to feel the pain of poor people."

The blast happened in a crowded area of the city where several high-profile organisations including the European Union have offices.

The force of the explosion shook the windows of buildings hundreds of metres away and caused some low-rise structures in the immediate vicinity to collapse.

The scene of the attack was scattered with body parts, blood and debris. Children were among the wounded.

FOREIGNERS LEAVING

The government has blamed the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, which Afghan and Western officials suspect of involvement in at least some of the recent attacks in the capital.

The suicide bomber passed through at least one checkpoint in the ambulance, saying he was taking a patient to Jamhuriat hospital, an interior ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

"At the second checkpoint he was recognised and blew [up] his explosive-laden car," Nasrat Rahimi said.

Rahimi told a news conference later that most of the victims were civilians. Four suspects had been arrested.

The attack came exactly a week after Taliban insurgents stormed Kabul's landmark Intercontinental hotel and killed at least 25 people, the majority foreigners.

But there is still confusion over the true toll from that attack with conflicting figures given by officials and Afghan media reporting higher numbers.

Some foreign organisations are reassessing their presence in Afghanistan following the spate of deadly violence.

The Aga Khan Foundation is moving its foreign staff out of the country, several sources told AFP.

At least one Western humanitarian group is relocating its foreign staff to other cities in Afghanistan, a source said.

DOLE: 300,000 jobs in China available for Filipino workers

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — New job opportunities are available for Filipinos abroad - this time in China.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III told CNN Philippines Sunday, there are 300,000 jobs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there. 

The DOLE responded to the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday that he was considering reaching out to China if foreign employers in Kuwait continue to maltreat overseas Filipino workers.

Bello said a third of the available jobs are for English teachers, who are needed as China's economy grows. 

"There is a big demand for English teachers in China, kasi gusto yata ng mga Chinese na matutong mag-Ingles 'yung mga anak nila," he said.

[Translation: There is a big demand for Englsh teachers in China, because it seems the Chinese want their children to learn to speak English.]

Bello added the job could pay up to P60,000 or $1,200 a month.

China's Labor Ministry also seeks musicians, nurses, cooks, household service workers, and caregivers.

Although China has not been a traditional destination for OFWs, the Labor Secretary said the demand is due to the aging population and lack of workers who are able to speak English.

The bilateral agreement between the two countries is set to be signed next month, and this will outline the salaries, work hours, benefits, and other employment rules for OFWs there.

Bello said the agreement also aims to protect the rights of Filipino workers and prevent abuses from being committed against them.

The Labor Department is advising recruitment agencies to include the culture and norms of China in the training of workers who want to work abroad, and they must also look thoroughly at the employers they would be dealing with in China.

Filipinos seeking employment in China must only contact agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

"'Pag mayroong lumapit sa inyo na mag-apply kayo, or work abroad, dumaan muna kayo sa POEA, mayroon naman silang naka-Facebook na listahan ng mga legitimate agencies," Bello said.

[Translation:When you are approached by someone who wants you to apply, go first to the POEA. They also have a list of legitimate agencies on their Facebook page.]

Applicants are also advised to check whether an agency is suspended, and if its license is still valid.

The DOLE earlier suspended the deployment of OFWs to Kuwait after reports of abuse by foreign employers.

Under Administrative Order No. 25, Bello directed the POEA to stop the processing and issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) to all Kuwait-bound workers as authorities probe the death of seven OFWs in the Gulf State.