Oman announced on Sunday that it would stop expatriates from certain jobs in an effort to create more jobs for its citizens during the economic downturn.
In a region that relies heavily on cheap foreign labor, the Sultanate spends about 40 percent of the country’s 4.5 million strong population. Faced with the economic crisis and a sharp drop in oil revenues, Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have stepped up efforts to create jobs for their citizens.
Oman’s Ministry of Labor announced on Twitter on Sunday that “a number of jobs in the private sector will be nationalized.” He added that the work permits of foreigners in these professions will not be renewed after they expire.
The ministry said a number of jobs in insurance companies, shops and car dealerships, including finance, commercial and administrative positions, would be “limited to Oman only”. He added that “whatever the vehicle is” working as a driver will also be reserved for citizens. In April 2020, Oman ordered state-owned companies to expedite the process of replacing Omani nationals with foreign staff, especially in senior positions, to create more jobs for citizens.
At the time, the finance ministry said large numbers of migrants still held administrative positions in government agencies. Since 2014, the oil-rich Gulf region has been hit hard by falling crude prices, a new blow to the global economic impact of the novel Corona virus epidemic.
Oman and fellow GCC states Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain have sought to diversify their economies and include millions of new graduates.
All have enacted legislation in both the public and private sectors to give priority to foreigners over citizens. There are more than 25 million foreigners in the Gulf, with the majority in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.