Oman is planning to grant long-term residence visas to foreign investors with effect from September. The renewable 5- or 10-year residency visas are similar to the initiative taken by the UAE.
The initiative will give foreign investors and retirees the right to reside for long periods in the sultanate, according to state media.
Expatriates receive citizenship
According to a Royal Decree issued by His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, 30 expatriates in the Sultanate were recently granted citizenship; the total number of foreigners given Omani nationality this year is 226.
This is the third batch of expatriates to obtain citizenship in Oman this year. In March, His Majesty the Sultan granted citizenship to 39 expatriates and in February, 157 expatriates.
In order to obtain citizenship, expatriates must meet the requirements of the Omani Nationality Law, including having lived in the country for more than 20 years.
They have to submit an application that costs OMR600, while spouses or ex-spouses of Omani nationals have to pay OMR300, according to the ministry of interior.
Applicants will need to prove that they live and work in Oman, and that no legal cases have been filed against them. They have to provide a medical certificate to prove that they do not have a contagious disease.
Article 16 of the law states: “Anyone who receive the Omani citizenship must visit the ministry to complete the procedures required for an Omani passport for him and underage children who will automatically receive it, within six months.”
Expatriates who start the procedure must take an Arabic language test. The exam can be a written or oral one at the ministry. Expatriates who fail the test can take the test again after six months; they will be given four chances.
During the first ten years after obtaining citizenship, new Omani citizens will not be able to spend more than six months outside the country unless they obtain a permit from the Ministry of Interior.
Expatriates make up around 42 per cent of Oman’s population, as per government data from 2020. The country’s workforce nationalisation policy, known as Omanisation, in order to create employment opportunities for its citizens had resulted in lesser opportunities for expats.
More than 200,000 foreign workers left Oman between March 2020 and March this year, the ministry of finance said in early June. Early during the pandemic, Oman — where youth unemployment is over 10% — ordered state firms to replace foreign employees with nationals to ease pressure on the job market.