Oman has become the latest Arabian Gulf region to reassess its regulations surrounding expat employment and to cut jobs in order to support the local workforce.
We’ve previously reported on the policy imposed by Saudi Arabia which issues fines to those companies which take on a greater percentage of foreign employees than nationals, and now Oman is taking similar steps.
According to a recent report, over 100,000 positions currently held by expatriates will be given to Omani nationals as the government strives to reduce the percentage of foreign employment in the private sector from 39 per cent to 33 per cent.
While the government hasn’t provided a timeframe for the private sector to comply with this ruling, it has intimated that the number of foreign nationals working in Oman should fall from 692,867 to 586,272 when the policy has come into effect.
As it stands, expatriate workers outnumber Omani workers by six to one. Of the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers only 8.8 per cent have specialisations and 7.8 per cent have technical skills. 28.1 per cent of the region’s expatriate workers are classed as skilled.
This action reflects promises issued by Oman’s government in 2011. In order to bring an end to local protests against poor employment opportunities and low wages, the government pledged to introduce reforms and revise hiring practices.
Oman’s Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri said this of the new scheme; “Intensified efforts were made last year by the government to regularise the labour market, update its legislations and provide job opportunities for citizens to enhance their contribution to the development process.”
He also stated that a temporary ban has been introduced to prevent companies from hiring expats in certain sectors, like construction.
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