Muscat: Oman’s Manpower Ministry has reiterated its no tolerance policy over hiring of illegal workers.

Thousands of illegal workers are arrested every year across the country.

As long as citizens and residents are hiring undocumented workers, the problem will continue, the ministry explained.

The ministry called on all citizens and residents to help authorities combat the issue by abiding by the law.

Oman has recently increased fines against those who hire absconding workers from 100 riyals to 1,000 riyals.

Many workers abscond from their lawful employers to take more profitable jobs mostly in the construction sector.

The Manpower Ministry spends millions of riyals every year arresting, jailing and repatriating illegal workers. Around 22,000 absconding workers were deported last year — mostly from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Many foreign workers from South Asian countries who come to the Gulf find jobs through recruitment agencies in their home countries that charge them exorbitant fees, often going as high as a year’s wages.

Desperate to find work and remit hard currency back home, many go into debt.