Expat population shrinks by 2.1%

Muscat: The number of expatriates from different Asian countries working in Oman has witnessed the biggest ever drop in May this year.
The total number of expatriate workers in Oman at the end of May, 2018 stood at 1,830,394 at the end of May 2018 against 1,836,569 in April last year.
According to data from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Bangladeshis, who form the highest number of foreign workers currently in the Sultanate, registered a fall of 3.6 per cent from 682,702 in April 2017 to 680,242 workers in May 2018.
Indians, who occupy the second slot, also registered a fall of 2.4 per cent to reach 674,758 from 688,696 during the same period.
The largest fall was in the number of Pakistanis — down to 227,079 from 229,378 in April 2017 with a 4.5 per cent fall.
According to experts familiar with the issue, a number of factors are responsible for the drop. “The nationalisation policy coupled with the temporary ban on different job categories for expatriates by the Ministry of Manpower is the major reason why the number of expats is down”, said Firoz Mohamed, a human resource expert.
Last month, the ministry extended ban on hiring expat workers in as many as 87 professions for another six months.
The professions mainly include many in the insurance and finance sectors, public relations and human resources, engineers in architecture, civil and electrical and professionals in finance and accounts.
“The government’s decision, as part of its decision to reserve certain jobs for Omanis, has also contributed to the dip along with the crackdown on illegal workers in the country”, he said.
According to NCSI figures, clerical occupations registered the highest fall of 9.7 per cent followed by employees in real estate activities by 6.9 per cent during the period in review.
Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos working in the Sultanate increased by 9.5 per cent to reach 46,458 workers in May from 46,106 in April 2017. The number of Egyptians also registered a rise of 10 per cent at 29,702 in May from 29,551 in April last year.
Among the expats in the Sultanate, Ugandans registered the highest rise with 58.6 per cent followed by Egyptians (10 per cent) and Filipinos (9.5 per cent).

SAMUEL KUTTY
MUSCAT, JULY 5