By Courtney Trenwith
Gulf sultanate says tougher enforcement of labour laws will naturally see decline of about 200,000 expats
Oman has announced it intends to cut its expatriate population by 6 percentage points, or 200,000 people.
Foreigners presently make up about 39 percent of the Omani population of about 3.3 million, but they account for nearly 90 percent of all workers in the private sector, according to figures announced by the Manpower Ministry on Monday.
Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri did not announce any specific measures to help reduce the number of expats, suggesting it would naturally decline as authorities properly enforced the Labour Law.
Of the 1,776,583 people working in the private sector, 244,698 are Omanis, while 1,551,885 are expatriates, including 242,904 of them working in the special services.
Last year, a net 14,059 Omanis joined the private sector, Sheikh Abudllah said.
Oman and other GCC states are working to reduce expat numbers to increase the rate of national employment, particularly in the private sector.
Expat populations are at least as much as one-third in GCC states, while they make up a considerable percentage of the workforce.
More than 1 million foreigners left Saudi Arabia during a six-month amnesty on illegal workers last year, while Kuwait is said to be mulling a similar scheme to be implemented this year.
Kuwait has said it aims to reduce expat numbers by 1 million – or a third of its total population – by 2023.
Well done Oman.
They have had a plan for years and worked very hard at this.
Not just by replacing people and putting in under qualfiied nationals with a huge allowance, but a real plan from the bottom up.
They are to be admired and congratulated and maybe they can outsource their progressive handling of a very sensitive subject.
I am an expat but I support Oman new law because, It will be useful to countries economic development and employment. If expats perceives its is wrong its their mistake because every country would like to support their own citizens rather than expats..
So Good decision.. but have to implement strictly.
Well done Oman! I hope this happens in other GCC countries so then we can hire other GCC nationals instead of exapts.
Other GCC nations too are included as expats. Only citizen are considered as locals.
Anyways for various reasons, one don't get to see many GCC nations working across GCC countries.
It's not about private sector not hiring nationals, Its about nationals not willing to work for private sector. No matter how many expats get thrown out of these countries, nationals will still not be willing to work for private sector due to its disadvantages compared to public sector.
This is extremely heartbreaking and disturbing that expats who spend years and years helping build the economy of these countries, at the end just get thrown out due to laws. For most of us - these gulf countries are our first home! Please consider that..
Mushtaq, are you a standup comedian? Support their citizens rather than expats?? Who is supporting who? Who is building the infrastructure of the nations in the GCC? The locals? I'm from a wonderful country full of fresh air, green, kindness and exceptionally generous government....I don't need handouts. Do you think that I'm in the GCC for support?? So they can help me because I'm forlorn over my amazing 4 seasons a year and family close by? Get your mind straight, my friend. Every single expat comes here to work...to labour, to build, to conceive, to innovate and create where all of these areas are needed and may be lacking....and then we stay for awhile and then we leave when the time is right. The people of Oman are the hardest working out of the GCC, by a long shot....but don't ever ever mistake our presence here as a "handout". We're handing out our abilities and experience. Not charity. I live in the UAE and have for many many years and I stay because I love it.
@Mosa - this is simply not true. If you go to Oman, you will find many thousands of locals doing regular jobs (e.g. driving taxis!).... and what's more, they do it with a smile on their faces.
I ran a waste management business in Muscat for awhile and had local Omanis working on the waste trucks, in an incinerator plant and doing extremely basic tasks.
Oman has always been one of the most progressive in terms of local employment in the private sector and long may it continue.
I applaud their approach and can fully understand why any nation would put the health & wealth of their own patriots before those of others.
The GCC is over supplied with labor, legal and illegal and the region is undergoing structural corrections.
Nationals will enter the market if there are incentives and livable wages.
There are companies which can only survive with cheap imported labor. Such companies should be allowed to go under. If a company in a developed country imports cheap labor from a less developed country, it isn't doing anything for the people of its own country.
I think it's perfectly reasonable for Omani to want to preserve its job market for Omanis. But even in the US, there are just certain jobs citizens will not take. It's not just waitressing jobs and manual labor, it can even include engineering and computer science jobs that require a level of math and science competence lacking in many young people. In the US, you would be hard pressed to find many American-born engineering graduates applying for jobs compared with foreign-born.
Turning to the GCC, the private sector contains manual labor, service jobs, and highly-technical positions, involving long hours and in many cases, comparatively low pay. If citizens can obtain well-paid government positions with fixed hours, no manual labor, and not so much ingenuity, why would they want to even consider the private sector? And as we find throughout the GCC, upwards of 90% of locals won't .
Thank you Mick for speaking out on behalf of the expats who left everything for hard inhuman work for mutual benefit. For the sacrifices the expats make, GCC nations have been gifted with a relaxed life. May Allah Bless you Mick for your love of the desert country for your spiritual reaons and for speaking out the truth about expats contributions.