Employment Contracts

What you need to know

Employment Contracts

Once you accept an Omani job, you will have to sign an employment contract. This usually occurs in your home country, well before you even leave for Oman.

This will contain your conditions of employment and will probably include a detailed job description, including a clear list of your rights and responsibilities. You can have this document formalized or notarized in Arabic once you arrive in Oman, though surprisingly there is little advantage to doing so (other than having an Arabic copy your superiors can easily read). If you are looking for part-time work, you may not get a formal contract, and might have to make due with a verbal agreement instead. If at all possible, try and get the conditions of your employment in writing.

In addition to salary, benefits, and responsibilities, your employment contract should also contain termination conditions, including required notice periods and the penalties for violating them.

You may also find that your contract includes the phrase ‘employment subject to obtaining the necessary permits.´ This clause simply protects your employer from being stuck with you in the event are unable to obtain a visa or work permit. Provided you take care to obtain all the necessary paperwork before arriving in Oman, this part of the contract should present no problems.

Traditionally, most expatriate contracts have lasted for two years, but open-ended contracts have become increasingly common. Employers have become more comfortable with the idea of releasing employees, so most contracts now simply have a termination notice period between one and three months. In some cases, they may give the employer right to release you with ´payment in lieu of notice.´ Contracts can be renewed with mutual consent, and since most foreign employees are extremely reliable, it is perfectly normal for them to work with the same company for 20 years or more.

In some cases, you may be required to visit the Ministry of Labor in order to finalize your contract and work permit.

You may find that the job title on your contract differs from the one on your visa. Companies sometimes do this in order to circumvent regulations requiring Omani nationals to be employed in certain prositions. This will not affect your employment, and poses no significant legal risks. In fact, it is quite common.

Medical Examination

All expatriates must pass a medical examination prior to the issue of a work residence visa. The examination is a general health check that screens for serious infectious diseases and infirmities, especially for HIV and AIDS. If you are married, your spouse will also have to pass the AIDS test. If either of you is HIV/AIDS positive, you will be deported immediately.

The test is also given whenever works visas are renewed, which is usually every three years.

Medical examinations are likely to be more intense for workers from the Indian sub-continent and south-east Asia (especially if they are poor manual laborers), as these people often face greater chances of exposure to dangerous disease and less access to advanced medical resources in their home countries than westerners.

Further reading

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