The cases are apparently going in front of the Public Prosecutor this week. Here's the report:
On Monday the 13th of December the Ministry of Labour came into our special education center in and took into custody all of our volunteers and seized both their passports and ID cards.(those that didn’t have the passports with them, were seized and taken to the ministry, they were not able to be released without someone from their family turning over their passports)
They are there as volunteers not workers (they are not taking any salary) and all proper paperwork was filled out; Volunteer forms, a letter from them stating that they would like to volunteer and they understood this means no salary, and copies of their passport, ID and CV. The Ministry is refusing to give back the ID cards and are threatening to deport the volunteers
Firstly, The Ministry of Social Development knows we have been running under Ministry of Commerce since 2007, the royal decree that came in to play about centers with handicapped children came in 2008 (the Royal Degree stated that all handicapped centers must be under Ministry of Social Development). The Ministry on Social development has allowed us to continue to operate until all of our paperwork is completed, which should be sometime within the next few weeks.
Secondly, all the ladies are VOLUNTEERS, they are not taking salaries and according to what our lawyer has said this is legal (there is no stated rule about volunteering in Oman). This was the third time they had come in, the first two times the inspectors had said we were on the legal side.
Furthermore, in seizing both the ID cards and passports of these ladies is wrong, now they have no documents.
We were not the only center targeted... two other special education centers were also targeted and their volunteers also taken. All three centers have been turned over to public prosecutor. Can anyone help these three centers?
There was an article on Nov 26th in the hi magazine, urging people to volunteer... but then the ministry of labour goes to special education center and arrests volunteers??
Yes, the Ministry of Manpower's thugs at work. According to my sources, the report is, unfortunately, quite true and accurate.
Not content with hounding powerless underpaid housemaids from India and elsewhere, they are now targeting expats who volunteer to help Oman's disadvantaged special needs children. You know, the kids who are so well regarded by most of Omani society that they are simply left to under-funded charities to take care of, or abandoned in orphanages.
I guess taking payments to clear illicit visa requests while ignoring the thousands of blatant violations of labour law visible on building sites all over Oman still leaves plenty of time for such bullying. After all, it's not as if these morons from the Ministry could actually get a real job anyhow.
I can only hope the judge will bawl them out for not only doing something so obviously counter-productive to Omani society, but for wasting his time too, as volunteering is not illegal, even if you are recompensed for expenses.
Happy Holidays indeed.