Muscat: A proposal being discussed in Oman by a Shura council members could put a tax on expats.

The proposal, which would charge a 3 per cent monthly fee on expatriates — based on their salary, would result in companies replacing expats with Omanis, said Nabhan Al Battashi, the chairman of General Federation of Trade Unions, told Gulf News yesterday.

Al Batashi added that most high-level positions in Oman’s private sector are dominated by expatriates, although he added it’s not fair to levy a monthly fee on expatriates whose salaries do not exceed 200 riyals. He said it would be better to charge those in higher positions.

“There is no comparison between an expatriate worker who earns 100 riyals and another who earns 10,000 riyals,” he said.

Tawfiq Al Lawati, a Shura member representing the Mutrah province, told the Times of Oman, an English daily, that a proposal to revise the renewal fee for expatriate workers aims to generate more revenue for the government amid the slide in oil prices.

“If we calculate an expatriate’s monthly gross salary as 1,000 riyals, then his two year salary will be 24,000 riyals. So, three per cent of it will be 720 riyals. According to the new proposal, he has to pay 720 riyals. Meanwhile, an expatriate drawing 100 riyals should have to pay only 72 riyals, instead of the present 200 riyals. At present, those drawing 100 riyals and 1,000 riyals monthly gross salary are only paying 200 riyals for visa renewal, which is unfair,” he told Times of Oman.

The proposal has been submitted to the chairman of the Oman’s Advisory Council but haven’t yet discussed in the corridors of the council, Al Lawati told Gulf News.

“It’s still a personal idea and it maybe is discussed in the council or not,” he said.

Major reforms

Furthermore, Saleh Musin, the Head of the Economic Committee at Shura Council, told Gulf News, that the Economic Committee has not received such proposal so far.

Oman had last year considered major reforms in order to cut spending and increase revenues amid an oil price slump that resulted in a significant rise in the country’s deficit.

In 2014, the Shura Council approved the proposal for a two per cent levy on the billions of riyals that expatriates send home every year, to overcome a budget deficit due to drop in oil prices.