Oman: rise in the expat population

Hello everyone,

Expats have been moving massively to Oman since the past five years. According to latest figures published by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the country's total population of over 4.44 million inhabitants include 45.5% of expatriates as at May 2016. Nationals, for their part, constitute 50.5% of the total population.

In 2010, expatriates accounted for only 29% while in 2011 figured rose up to 38.9%. In April 2016 only, a 1% rise was registered. Note that most of these expatriates come from India (687,592) and Bangladesh (630,433). This increase is attributed to huge development projects started across the country and requiring foreign manpower.

The NCSI also revealed that most residents, that is over 2.4 million people including 891,942 expats against 503,470 nationals, live in Muscat. North Batinah is the second most densely populated area with more than 719,000 residents including 241,142 expatriates.

The above facts may be fascinating based on documents, however, the real scenario differs from what you have mentioned. Due to the current economy,  there has been a major fall in the manpower from everywhere, say its Muscat or any other state.

Projects have slowed down as well. That;s all in general. With this budget deficit, it ain't no possible to expand the development to a huge level.

I was interested to read this because in the 1990's there was a big programme of Omanisation to reduce the number of expatriate workers in the country to free up jobs for Omani nationals.  When I first went to Oman in 1977 the population was only three quarters of a million. At one point there were more expatriates that nationals.  I remember reading in the Times of Oman or the Observer, the headline "We will not be a minority in our own country."  Ruwi high street looked like you were in Islamabad in those days.

from my point of view there must be a rise in expats population in Oman. However, the rise should be something more than what you have mentioned. But oman now follows qouta system to be strictly followed by compines to recurit omani. However, this Omanisation strategy faced many issues , such as shortage of skills within omani that can't meet the job requirement adequately and hence there are number of expats filling such position. If only oman to focus on education system and vocational training to supply the market with crtical skills  in early stage , then we may see total replacement of expats in next  years, which may be not so soon.

You are right when you say that Omanisation strategy faced many issues.  One of them was that many Omanis had not as yet developed a work ethic.  In the main they were regarded by expatriate companies as being an unreliable workforce. This was my experience too.  Back in the 1990’s on minister said to a friend of mine at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel that Oman would need expatriate help for many more years to come.

Thank you lagenda for sharing the experience and shed light on the issue of work ethics, which further complicated the transation towards ominatisation...

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