Tens of thousands of illegal expatriates stuck in limbo are set to flee the country once a general amnesty is announced, it was revealed this week.
Embassies of various Asian countries are already getting paperwork prepared in the hope that their citizens stranded in Oman without valid documents will be given immunity and allowed to leave the Sultanate without any legal recriminations.
More than 3,000 Pakistanis are likely to benefit from such an amnesty, a Pakistan Embassy official told a local newspaper.
Other embassies are expecting similar numbers.
“We are expecting a large number of illegal immigrants to leave the country,” said a source from the Indian Embassy.
He was unable to say how many, but some estimated the figure of illegal Indians could be as high as 7,000.
Thousands of Nepalese migrants in Oman are also expected to return home in the coming months when the amnesty happens. This could be as early as the end of this week or next week, according to the Oman branch of the Non-resident Nepali Association (NRNA).
Data suggests at least 4,000 Nepalis working without legal status in Oman are likely to take advantage of the reprieve.
“It’s a great opportunity for many Nepali migrants working here without legal documents. We urge all to take this opportunity,” read a statement issued by the Oman branch of the NRNA.
Some 20,000 Nepali migrant workers are calculated to be working in Oman. The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) in Nepal issued permits to 3,435 men and women to work in the Sultanate in the last fiscal year.
Oman has given a three-month period for immigrants to utilise the amnesty offer, according to the Nepali Embassy in Muscat. The embassy said the Omani authorities have allocated time for undocumented Nepali workers to apply for the exit pass. The applicant will be able to leave the country after one month.