Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1327
Title: OMAN OFFERS OVERSTAYERS AN EASY EXIT

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT13272005-08-30 08:52:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 001327 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARPI, G/TIP 
DEPT FOR DOL (JSHEA) 
DEPT FOR USTR (AROSENBERG) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB PHUM SMIG SOCI PREL MU
SUBJECT: OMAN OFFERS OVERSTAYERS AN EASY EXIT 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (SBU) In an effort to spur the exit of expatriates who 
have overstayed their visas, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) 
eased departure regulations and urged all persons on expired 
visas to pay a one-time fee of $655 USD and depart the 
country without hindrance by August 19.  The offer did not 
apply to foreigners who entered Oman illegally.  Although the 
government widely advertised the initiative, officials at the 
Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian embassies say that 
relatively few of their nationals took advantage of the 
offer, opting to hope for something better in the future. 
End Summary. 
 
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Bargain 
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¶2. (U)  In early August, the ROP eased departure regulations 
for the estimated 50,000 expatriates believed to be in Oman 
on expired tourist visas, urging all those on expired visas 
to depart the country by August 19 after paying a one-time 
fee of $655.  The steep reduction in fees, normally set at 
$26 per day beyond expiry of a visa, was meant to be a strong 
incentive, especially for those visitors who have overstayed 
their visa by a year or more and conceivably owe over $9500 
in fines. 
 
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Seeking a Better Deal 
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¶3. (SBU) Although the ROP's initiative represents a 
potentially significant discount for long-term overstayers, 
many expatriates are unable to raise the necessary money and 
accompanying airfare home.  In an attempt to promote timely 
and legal departure, an official from the Bangladeshi Embassy 
said that his government negotiated an even lower fee of $131 
for first-time offenders.  In effect since September 2004, 
the ROP has granted reduced exit fees to over 2000 
Bangladeshis, while another 1000 repeat offenders paid the 
$655 fine. 
 
¶4. (SBU) Pakistani officials are attempting to negotiate a 
reduced exit fee for their nationals as well.  According to 
one Embassy official, no more than 20-30 Pakistanis have come 
forward to take advantage of the current program.  Since most 
out-of-status Pakistanis entered the country illegally, the 
easy-exit program is of little relevance. 
 
¶5. (SBU) The Indian Embassy, whose nationals could be the 
largest beneficiary of the easy-exit plan, has no firm 
figures on those who departed before the August 19 deadline. 
It estimates, however, that more than 8,000 Indians are 
currently in Oman on expired visas.  Indians constitute the 
largest percentage of Oman's foreign population. 
 
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Comment 
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¶6. (SBU) While the easy-exit program should appeal to those 
expatriates stuck in Oman on expired visas, it does nothing 
to facilitate repatriation of that those who entered 
illegally.  Moreover, most expatriates on expired visas tend 
to be poor working-class South Asians who would find it 
difficult to raise airfare and pay any amount in overstay 
fines.  It appears that most of them have taken the rational 
economic decision to remain in Oman in hopes of finding more 
lucrative employment or, alternatively, a lower-cost option 
for departing. 
BALTIMORE