Work visa applications flood LMRA.

THE Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) received 5,542applications in the first three days, after it took over theresponsibility of issuing work visas for expats last Tuesday.

Out of these 1,594 were submitted online, said LMRA e-services and public relations manager Waheed Al Balushi.

"The majority of them were for new work visas and for renewals," he told the GDN.

"There are applications from companies for cleansing the data.

"Also, there are some for local transfer, which we are now attending to on a trial basis."

Mr Al Balushi said the local transfer is allowed if the old sponsor cancels the visa and the new sponsor manages to get a new work visa for the applicant within 30 days.

"The applicant who fails to join a new employer after cancelling his visa within 30 days should leave the country," he noted.

Mr Al Balushi said the LMRA is encouraging more people to use its online services.

"People who visit the e-services area at our premises in Sanabis are being guided and trained how to use the service," he added.

"Work visas for foreign workers will be issued within 10 days, after the application is accepted.

"The LMRA will issue the approval note to grant the work visa within three days of the fulfilment of all requirements."

The application will then be sent to the Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) which will allocate a CPR number in two days and it will then be forwarded to the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR). The GDNPR will verify the application for security clearance and process it in five working days.

Once the approval is given by the immigration authorities, the LMRA will issue the work visa.

However, the consent shall be null and void, if the employer does not settle the required fees within 30 days of the date of the consent.

The employer should employ foreign workers only in the job stated in the visa or can change the profession, only with the LMRA's written consent.

The LMRA also grants temporary work visas for six months, renewable once only for a further six months, for some specific jobs.

Copyright A[umlaut] 2008 Gulf Daily News

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