The Sultanate saw a slight dip in the number of expatriate workers, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The number of expat workers dropped from 1, 869,419 in June this year to 1,866,021 at the end of July, a 0.2-per cent dip.
The number of Indian workers dipped -0.1 per cent to 691,449 and those from Bangladesh by -0.3 per cent to 702,727. These two are largest expatriate communities in Muscat.
At the same time, the number of workers from the Philippines saw a 0.8-per cent rise — from 42,779 in June to 43,107 in July.
According to sources in the industry, the decline can be attributed to a slowdown in the recruitment process in the process sector, with a number of companies being unable to manage new projects.
As part of a cost-cutting exercise, companies have cut down on their bench strength and outgoing expatriate employees replaced “only when absolutely needed”.
The requirement of NOC (No Objection Certificate) for expats to switch jobs has made some disgruntled employees to return home as they are unable to find / change jobs.
“There have been fewer opportunities for expatriates in the last two months but the recent announcement of contracts related to Duqm refinery and other projects in the tourism sector has changed the trend,” said the human resources executive of a consultative firm.
“The fact that there is an increase in the number of workers from the Philippines indicates the tourism and hospitality sector is showing some growth.”
The number of expatriate workers had increased in 2016 to 1,825,603 from 1,671,540 in 2015.
Consequently, the number of new vehicles registered dropped 22.3 per cent to 35,788 during June-July this year as against 46,058 during the same period in 2016.