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Marginal rise in expat population

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On the back of ease in travel and other regulations, the expatriate population registered a marginal rise in October last.

Figures released by the country’s National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI) show that the number of expatriates at the end of October reached 1,358,356 against 1,339,136 in September.

The population ticker on Sunday, November 28, showed that Omanis reached 62.40 per cent to reach 2,796,625 of a total population of 4,483,216, while the number of expatriates stood at 1,686,591.

The total number includes foreign workers and their dependents currently staying in the Sultanate.

According to specialists in human resources, the rise in the expatriate arrivals has resulted from the lifting of travel bans and ease in other regulations.

“Several of them were stranded in their respective countries as a result of lockdown and travel ban imposed by the Sultanate of Oman as a measure to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The high air fares also prevented many of them from their return”, said Sami Abdul Wahaibi, HR manager at a money exchange company.

The NCSI website reveals that 27,218 expatriates including their dependents have returned to the Sultanate of Oman during the September-October period. In September, the number of the Omani population increased by 0.23 per cent compared to August while the expatriate population decreased by 0.58 per cent in September compared to August.

“The percentage of expatriates in Oman currently is at its lowest level in years. The fall indicates a sharp decline from 46 per cent in 2015 to the current 37.60 per cent”, Sami said referring to the NCSI data.

While the percentage of expatriate workers shows a decline in the government sector with a fall of 11.1 per cent, the private sector including business registered a fall of 5.5 per cent.

According to nationalities, Bangladeshi expat workers continue to form the largest community with 519,782 followed by Indians with 450,953 by the end of October this year.

Pakistani workers are in the third position with 180,256 followed by Filipinos with 44,399. There are 30,173 Egyptians and 18,219 Sri Lankan nationals currently staying in the Sultanate of Oman.

The Governorate of Muscat continues to be home for the majority 571,032 foreign workers followed by Al Batinah north with 190,215 and Dhofar with 156,759.

Al Wusta has the lowest 22,773 expats.

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