The number of expatriates in Oman has more than doubled in the past decade as the country pushes on with major developments.
According to the latest statistics from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of foreign workers in the Sultanate has leapt by a staggering 167 per cent since 2003. However, as of March this year, there were 1,766,988 expatriate workers in the private sector. Ten years ago, there was just over half a million expats.
A large number of these – 665,679 – were working in construction, an industry hoping to achieve 30 per cent Omanisation. Currently there are only 57,464 Omanis working in the sector.
Other areas attracting expatriate workers are retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
Big projects such as Muscat’s new airport and new roads have seen an influx of workers from abroad.
Figures from the NCSI show that Muscat has the highest number of working expatriates, with 626,418 foreign employers.
The least number of expat workers are in Musandam, with just 10,894.
The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) pinpointed the growing numbers of large-scale development projects as the reason for the escalating number of expats.
Redha Juma Mohammed Ali al Saleh, OCCI’s vice chairman for administration and finance affairs, said that the number of expats would be reduced.
“After big projects such as airports and road projects are completed, the number of expatriate workers will be reduced automatically,” he said.