Even as the Ministry of Labour has released a raft of measures including fee hikes for job permits, the number of expatriates in different occupational groups fell significantly during the past 12 months.
Data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) shows an across-the-board fall of 15.5 per cent in all categories of foreign workers, especially top-level positions.
According to the latest figures released by NCSI in January, expatriates in top jobs including directors and managers in administrative sections have dropped by 15.3 per cent to reach 31,864 employees at the end of December 2020 against 37,603 in the corresponding month in the previous year.
Although the fall resulted from the nationalisation of several occupations, experts say the trend will continue as “part of the cost-cutting measures that many companies may resort to as an aftermath of the unexpected economic conditions prevailing in the country”.
The Ministry of Labour announced last week that fees for issuing and renewing licences to bring in expatriate manpower have been raised according to some professions.
The most significant increases will apply to top/senior level, middle level and technical and specialised roles.
According to NCSI, a total of 569,670 expatriates of different nationalities left the Sultanate in 2020. There were 1,443,128 expatriates in Oman against 1,712,798 at the end of December 2019.
The Sultanate has recently intensified the Omanisation in various sectors that aim to reserve jobs for Omani citizens and replace expatriate workers with trained Omanis.
Specialists in scientific, technical and human resources sections fell by 13.6 per cent to reach 62,124 against 71,940 during the one year from December 2019 to the same month in 2020.
The highest drop of 28.6 per cent was recorded in the clerical occupations with only 1,286 expatriates currently working in different sectors, while 10,246 lost jobs in various sales jobs.
There are 97,009 expatriates working in different sales occupations against 107,255 a year back.
Top jobs in education including the engineering section saw a fall of 18.9 per cent with many expatriates principals and others leaving the country. Presently there are 569,375 expatriates holding positions in this section against 702,100 at the end of December 2019.
While experts and specialists in industrial, chemical and food industries dropped by 15.4 per cent to reach 99,712 against 117,845, agriculture and stock breeding jobs occupied by expatriates saw a marginal fall of 7.9 per cent.
The Ministry of Labour recently met with officials from major banks, finance companies and money exchange houses to start job training and skill transfer to Omani staff.