A sponsor acts as a guardian and guarantor and undertakes all administrative work (i.e. paperwork) on behalf of the foreigner, including applying for a work and residence visa, opening a bank account and signing a rental accommodation contract. A sponsor can be an individual, a company or an institution.
Employers usually sponsor their employees, but visitors may be sponsored by a business partner or associate - even by the hotel in which they’re staying. Those aiming to do business in Oman should research the local business environment, establish contacts, and find individuals or companies with good reputations to act as their sponsors. If you go this route, you should expect to pay for these services.
The sponsorship system is an effective form of immigration control. As your sponsor is responsible for you and ‘takes the rap’ if you misbehave or contravene any regulations (which will cause him to lose face in the community), he has considerable incentive to ensure that you are reliable, trustworthy and law-abiding.
It´s not all doom and gloom though. Your sponsor can also be an invaluabe source of support and advice, and you would do well to treat him as such. In many cases, a sponsor may become a lifelong friend.