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Arab News, Thursday, Dec 6, 2018 | Rabi Al Awwal 28, 1440

As Oman’s expat population falls, so does unemployment among locals

Oman: Unemployment among Oman’s local population has dropped since the introduction of the expat visa ban and its subsequent extensions, national daily Times of Omanreported.

There has been a 3.4 percent reduction in the expat labor force between October 2017 and 2018, with the biggest drops in the manufacturing, engineering, industrial, financial, mining and construction sectors.

The biggest decline in unemployment was for Omani citizens aged 25 to 29 where there was a drop of 13.6 percent over the last month, according to the National Center for Statistics and Information.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate for Omanis aged 30 to 34 dropped by 11 percent for, and by 7.1 per cent for those from 35 to 39-years-old.

In contrast the number of expats working in Oman dropped by 3.4 percent from 1,795,689 in December 2017 to 1,739,473 now – with the biggest drop in the construction sector, which saw a 13.69 percent reduction from nearly 651,000 in December 2016 to just under 572,600 in October 2018.

Oman Introduced an expat visa ban across various private sector industries and professions from January 2018. Initially the ban was in force for six months, but was later extended to other fields of work and for further time.

The ban is part of the country’s Omanization project aimed at tackling Oman’s high unemployment levels among its citizens.

While the scheme has led to an increase in number of Omanis working, there has been an inevitable decrease in remittances.

Recent data showed a consistent decline in four of the country’s biggest expat communities – Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, and Tanzanians.

The National Center for Statistics and Information reported a 2.8 percent drop in the number of Indian expats, 4.4 percent in Bangladeshi expats, 6.9 percent in Pakistani workers, and 8.4 percent in Tanzanian workers. Most of the expats who left Oman held white collar jobs, according to NCSI.

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