Oman rentals to fall due to expat visa cut off

Published:  1 Feb at 6 PM
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Oman’s announcement of expat worker bans in specific sectors is expected to cause yet another rental price fall in the emirate’s already struggling property sector.

Local Omani media are reporting a perfect storm in the emirate’s property sector due to a combination of a glut of rentals and the recently-announced banning of expats from a wide number of job sectors. Last year saw the beginning of bad news for landlords, with this year shaping up to be even worse. Real estate agents in Oman have revealed a drop of around 25 per cent to an all-time low in the capital’s 2017 rental prices, with rents for properties outside the central region falling by 50 per cent or more. Should the trend continue as expected in 2018, incoming expats can expect bargain basement rents for the foreseeable future.

The announcement earlier this week of expat restrictions on a number of job categories may signal the final straw for the struggling sector. One real estate agent believes only a return to more freedom for expats will reverse the trend, adding it’s not confined to the property sector but will affect other expat-linked industries such as car sales and the provision of international education for expat children. Expats, he added, contribute a great deal to Oman’s overall economy and should be welcomed rather than being blamed for the emirate’s demographic imbalance.

Meanwhile in Kuwait, lawmakers have decided to double the three-month time limit for expatriates who’ve recently been sacked from their government and ministry jobs. According to informed sources, expats who are no longer required will now be able to continue working on full salaries until the first of July 2018, even although the legal deadline is three months. The reason given is that the new date coincides with the end of the school year, thus ensuring expat children can complete the full year. More than 3,000 expatriates have been affected by the original ruling.

Also in Kuwait, the court of appeal has delayed its ruling on the legality of the new expat health charges until early in March. The new charges became law last October and have resulted in alleged discrimination between expats and Kuwaiti citizens. The case is based on the interpretation of the way the charges were brought in, with lawyers saying the health ministry acted unconstitutionally as raising medical charges requires a law, not just a ministerial decision.
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