Expat workforce has tripled in Oman over the last decade

In 2007, the expatriate workforce in Oman consisted of around 660,950 people. By 2016, this number had risen steadily and significantly to 1,825,603. The capital of Oman, Muscat, holds double the number of expats than Omani citizens at 900,000 residents.

Why Oman?

Oman is often described as the Arabian peninsula’s scenic gem and this beautiful country has a lot to offer expats. It is known as an extremely laid back and accepting country, being very tolerant towards expats. Considering the number of expats now in the country, it is also incredibly easy to make friends and find people who share similar experiences.

Expatriates who have found a job in Oman are likely to earn incredibly good money and have a higher disposable income than in their country of origin. NCSI statistics show that there are a higher amount of expat workers who hold University degrees, higher diplomas and PhD degrees than working Omanis do. This explains why there are more expats in managerial positions than Omani citizens.

Expatriate employment

The private and governmental sectors in Oman employ the majority of expats. The private sector employed 1,787,979 in 2016 with most working in the construction sector. The governmental sector employed 37,624 workers last year. 12,211 of these workers were employed by the Ministry of Health and 9,748 by the Ministry of Education.

Other major sectors for expats are manufacturing, wholesale retail, trade and repairs, hospitality and employment in private households. These sectors have seen a remarkably steady growth in expat employment over the past decade.

In 2016, most of the expats working in Oman were in the 25 to 29 age bracket followed by 30 to 34 year olds.


As a result of the steady increase of expatriate numbers in the last decade, a policy of Omanisation has been introduced. This policy forces companies to increase the number of Omanis employed in businesses. 35% of a company’s workforce must be from Oman or they risk losing benefits from the government. This means that expatriate numbers could possibly drop over the next few years because there may be fewer jobs available, forcing expatriates to look elsewhere.

Although the expatriate workforce has tripled in the last decade in Oman, it will be interesting to see if this progression continues into the future. In the next decade, we may see expatriate numbers fall dramatically. Whether this will be a hinderance or a help to the citizens of Oman, remains to be seen.

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