The percentage of expatriates has rebounded to the pre-pandemic level of above 40 per cent in the Sultanate of Oman. According to the population clock at National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) on August 12, the number of expatriates, which includes family members, reached 1,928,441 forming 40.40 per cent of the total population.
The number of Omani citizens now stands at 2,841,121 at 59.60 per cent of a total population of 4,769,562 on the same day. Figures from the state-run agency show over 10 per cent increase in the expat number during the first half of the current year with 144,000 being added to the total number.
The private sector, which employs the majority of foreign workers, witnessed a jump of nearly 10.5 per cent to 1,250,880 by June against 1,131,526 in 2021 while the number of expatriates working in the government sector has fallen by 18 per cent to 31,125 from 37,996 at the end of 2021.
The construction sector has added 48,000 new expat workers in the first half of 2022, followed by wholesale, retail, and repair of automobiles with 224,251, domestic sector manufacturing 184,789, and accommodation and food services with 115,271.
Experts expect the construction sector, which is the largest employer of expatriates in Oman, is expected to recruit more foreign workers in the coming months.
“On the back of favourable investment laws, ease in visa regulations and revision of the licencing fees, the construction sector will add more foreign workers in the sector, which is already in a revival mode in the recent months”, said Mahmoud Ali Ahmed, general manager of a leading construction firm.
According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, the construction industry in Oman is forecast to grow by 3.4 per cent in real terms in 2022, after five successive years of contraction and a particularly steep decline of 8.3 per cent in 2021.
“The industry's growth in 2022 will be supported by a favourable base, coupled with rising oil prices and the continuous expansion of oil and gas production”, the publisher points out in its report on Friday.
The report expects, “the Omani construction industry to register annual average growth of 4.2 per cent between 2023 and 2026, supported by investments in the construction of oil, electricity, transport, and housing infrastructure projects”.
Bangladeshi workers formed the highest community with a population of 587,917 against 531,053 in 2021 followed by Indians by 506,184 and Pakistanis by 34,000 at the end of June.