Omanisation and slowing economy posing threats to expat jobs

Published:  27 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Jobs
Expat professionals living and working in Oman are concerned about risks to their jobs.

The Omani government’s Omanisation scheme is being cited as risking expat professional jobs as the government calls for employers to offer positions previously held for expatriates to local workers. To date, some 55,000 expat technical and engineering specialists have lost their jobs due to the plan, with around 6,000 Omanis now employed as replacements. More are expected to be taken on in the near future, with lawmakers confirming the move is a major part of the national strategy to encourage skilled locals into work.

Data released by Oman’s National Centre for Statistics shows some 758,929 expatriates working in private sector principle and auxiliary engineering jobs as of March this year, a fall from last year’s total of 813,599. The numbers of Omanis employed in similar private sector jobs this year totals out at 58,452, an increase over the past year of 2721. Figures for the numbers of expat professionals who've left due to finding other employment aren’t available, nor have the totals of how many were let go due to suitable Omani workers being employed.

The ministry’s list of expat sectors at risk includes engineers, architects, mechanics and other skilled occupations, with the government claiming all vacancies can be filled by fully-trained Omani nationals. However, the emirate’s slowing economy is another reason why experienced expat professionals are leaving Oman for other more welcoming destinations. In many cases, a lack of projects is causing some companies to let go of expensive foreign workers, with others now more willing to employ locals as they cost far less.
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