Expat numbers drop by 16.4% in 9 months

Muscat: Even as the Ministry of Labour has been pressing ahead with more jobs for nationals, the number of expatriates dropped by 16.4 per cent during the first nine months of this year. According to the October bulletin of the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), a total of 263,392 workers of different nationalities left the Sultanate during the period from January to September this year.

Figures from NCSI show that 1,449,406 expatriates were working in different sectors in the Sultanate till the end of September 2020 against 1,712,798 at the end of 2019.

The Ministry of Labour has initiated several steps to ensure jobs for the national workforce in the private as well as government sector. At the end of last week, the Ministry of Labour has asked the government companies “to expedite the replacement of expatriate workforce with nationals at all levels in general, and the specialists and technicians in particular”.

The meeting, chaired by Dr Mahad bin Said bin Ali Baowain, Minister of Labour, while seeking support for the government’s efforts to provide employment to the national workforce, called for the importance of training and qualifying the national workforce on the jobs.

According to the NCSI data, there has been an almost 22.4 per cent decline in the foreign workers in the government sector and 17.1 per cent in the private sector during the first nine months of this year. The figures show that there have been 42,989 foreign workers in various government sectors against 54,687 and 1,148,177 in the private sector against 1,363,955 at the end of 2019. Family and dependents registered a drop of 12.1 per cent to reach 258,240 against 294,156 during the same period.
Bangladeshis continue the largest expat community in Oman with a total of 550,471 workers and their dependents, despite a fall of 13.9 per cent.

While Indians accounted for the highest decline of 20.5 per cent to reach 499,431 till the end of September, Pakistanis dropped by 15.7 per cent to 176,550 and Filipinos by 8.2 per cent to 45,038 and Egyptians 8.4 per cent to reach 31,513 during the period.

The Governorate of Muscat, which is home to the maximum number of expat population, witnessed a fall of 17.3 per cent followed by Dhofar with 17.1 per cent during the nine-month period.