MUSCAT: The expatriate population in Oman fell by four per cent to reach 1,721,035 in December 2019 compared to the corresponding period in 2018.
According to the latest figures from the National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI), 66,412 or four per cent of the total expatriates left the Sultanate during the period. This is the lowest drop since July 2015, when expatriates made up 43.6 per cent of the total population in Oman. In 2017 and 2016, the percentage of expatriates stood at 45.9 per cent and 45.1 per cent, respectively.
Indians, Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals, which constitute the majority of expatriates in Oman, dropped by 6.3 per cent, 3.9 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
According to human resources experts, the decrease has resulted from the government’s efforts to find jobs for the nationals as part of Omanisation.
“The number is expected to drop further due to the hiring ban on several professions both in public and private sector coupled with other policies pursued by the government,” said Saif al Balushi, HR manager at a money exchange company.
With a ban on the hiring, the employment to expatriates in the private sector dropped for the first time in the last few years, with a decline of 3.7 per cent during 2018. Occupations included in such a ban are across numerous fields and include both junior and senior positions. The government is aiming at Omanisation of more leadership positions in the private sector.
Although the expatriate workers constitute the majority in the private sector workforce, the share of Omanis in total employment in the private sector inched up to 12.7 per cent in 2018 from 11.7 per cent a year ago.
The number of Omanis employed by the private sector, which has been growing steadily over the last few years, increased by 5.6 percent during 2018. The government, however, is trying to mitigate this imbalance in the domestic labour market by imparting requisite training and skills and encouraging Omani nationals to take up all kinds of jobs.
With youth constituting a large share in total population, a “dynamic labour market that is attractive to talent and responsive to demographic, economic, knowledge and technical changes” has become a national priority under Vision 2040.
Bangladeshi nationals top expatriates population with 635,262 people amid a fall of 3.9 per cent between December 2018 and December 2019.
Indians are in the second position with 620,650 followed by Pakistanis and Filipinos with 208,199 and 49,489 people.