Oman to open its property market to expats

Published:  6 May at 6 PM
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In a surprising move aimed at increasing foreign investment in the sultanate, Oman is planning to allow expats to lease or possibly own freehold real estate.

At the present time, 100 per cent foreign ownership of property in Oman is disallowed, with the real estate market falling due to the restriction. As a result, a report suggesting a relaxation of the law in order to permit foreign ownership has been under discussion by the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council. After consideration, lawmakers decided the move would help revitalise the market as well as attracting foreign investment, thus benefiting the economy. In order for the move to become law, it will need to be supported by a ministerial decree for leaseholding and/or a royal decree permitting expat freeholding.

Further improvements in 2019 for expats living and working in the sultanate are focusing on employee freedom of movement between employers for expats in the specialised sectors of education, medicine, consultancy and technical. Expatriate professionals in these fields will be allowed to use their expertise in the training locals on a temporary basis as well as managing businesses in need of specialist input. The temporary positions will be updated on an annual basis by the Ministry of Manpower, according to each sector’s specific needs. For expats involved, the temporary license procedure is to be simplified via an automated application process, and periods of up to three months are to be allowed. Another sector expected to benefit from the new rules is tourism, now a growing source of revenue in the sultanate.
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