Muscat: The Manpower Ministry has decided to tighten its noose around the illegal expatriate workforce in Oman to create a business environment that could be attractive for the national workforce, according to Salem Bin Saeed Al Badi, Director-General for Labour Welfare.

“We have decided to intensify a crackdown against the illegal expatriate workers in the country and teams have been formed to raid possible hideouts and working places if these workers,” he said in a statement released to media by the ministry.

“In the last 51 days since September 1, we have arrested 2,320 expatriate workers for violating the country’s residency and labour laws,” he revealed.

He added that most of them (1,008) were held in Muscat while 609 were arrested from Batinah province. The arrests were made from Dakhiliyah (320), Dhofar (131), Dhahirah (166), Sharqiyah (79) and Buraimi (7) provinces respectively.

According to him most of the illegal expatriates caught were either roadside vendors or cleaners of vehicles at public places like malls and streets. “Most of these offenders have either absconded or were allowed to work on their own,” he said.

The raids against illegal workers by the Manpower Ministry are coordinated with the Royal Oman Police.

He warned that those caught working illegally in the country will be deported with no-entry stamp while those who employ illegal expatriate workers face a one-year ban on hiring foreign workers.