Good decisions today, could prove to be bad decisions tomorrow... such is the nature of life, the way the world turns, and the changing face of our societies, and from that perspective, I must support the recent decision to add more professions to the list of those for which work permits may be issued to expatriates.
There has been the usual kerfuffle on social media from those who have been ‘offended’ by such announcements, this week, and in the past, and I think some of that may be due to the unwitting (surely) and antagonistic nature of the word ‘banned’ in the media announcements. It’s a word that just immediately gets peoples ‘backs up.’ We know we should let it go... but I digress.
The reality is that the Sultanate of Oman’s priority must be employment for Omanis, and this move is a sensible, and sensitive way to develop a workplace sector of society that is Omani, not expatriate, based. Young Omanis must have genuine employment opportunities, especially the graduates, and this is the one sure way to get them, so let’s just accept it, and let this in many ways very youthful nation, move forward. We cannot compare the needs of the Sultanate of Oman 20 or even 10 years ago, with those of today can we?
I know it’s a bit harsh, but I don’t see that Oman has any obligation to other nations, to provide employment opportunities. Certainly, it’s a very different ‘kettle of fish,’ as they say, if Omanis for whatever reason cannot fill vacancies, but the reality is that the circumstances under which expatriates may be employed should be those both obvious and justifiable.
For example, highly skilled professions where not only skills, but significant experience are paramount. Among these, off the top of my head, I can think of specialists within the healthcare and medical sector, where experienced surgeons, physicians, consultants, and nurses have mentoring roles that support professional development.
A special case too must be made for those in the teaching and lecturing sphere of the education sector, as while I have no doubts at all of the educational qualities of graduate Omani teachers, it is the resounding effect of mentors and guidance, observations and professional development, that ‘round out’ a graduate teacher towards maximising their teacher-ability, so, maybe for a wee bit longer, let the expatriate ‘experience,’ guide that continued education sector development.
The English language teaching and learning too, still requires ‘Native English Speakers,’ to be at the forefront of that specific educational sector, as the medical, legal, academic, diplomatic, and cross-linguistic business fraternities specifically require ‘absolute’ accuracy of communication and understanding. Pidgin English may get one by elsewhere, but not there.
The same applies too, I’m sure, in many other professions where the Sultanate of Oman has some presence at the top of the profession, but not sufficient leadership and management experience to ‘remove the training wheels,’ just yet. I do understand that some expatriates may feel discomfited by this week’s announcements, but it is not as if anyone is going to be ‘kicked out’ of their jobs, is it? ‘Keep calm,’ you’ll figure it out!
Look at it another way... Whether for a little while or a long time, you have been privileged to be here, under the Sun, enjoying the diversity of a country you have embraced. Learning humility from a people you have grown to love, and living a lifestyle that really, you could only have imagined in your wildest dreams. Wherever you go next will never be the same, probably never be as good, but it will be different.
While we may have made our homes in the Sultanate of Oman, it is not our ‘home’ and we must be both mature about the situation of this nation and its people, and we owe it to this gentle nation, this Jewel of the Gulf, to offer our understanding and support in their march towards prosperity.