Oman’s expat exodus expected to continue in 2017

Expats in mid and senior level jobs are expected to continue to leave the country this year due to tough economic conditions



Expats in mid and senior level jobs in Oman are expected to continue to leave the country this year as tough economic conditions impact salaries.

The country’s finance ministry said last week it planned several new austerity measures to boost non-oil revenue including changes to income tax and fees for hiring foreign workers.

Read: Oman 2017 budget projects smaller deficit as govt plans tax hikes

This comes as workers continue to face salary delays and projects are held back by delayed payments.

“I think expatriates working at mid and senior level jobs would continue to leave Oman this year too, as they did in 2016,” Shahswar Al Balushi, the CEO of Oman Society of Contractors and head of the Tanfeedh labour market lab, told Times of Oman.

“Till the economy recovers, expatriates in Oman will continue to face the same conditions. The 2017 budgetary allocation for development expenditure will only cover the pending bill payments. As a result, new projects will have a very slim chance in 2017 to receive a go ahead.”

Rajan B, general manager at Al Jadeed Exchange, told the publication that the company’s remittance records confirmed that mid and senior officials were voluntarily leaving or being asked to leave Oman.

Times of Oman also cited travel agents as saying many expats were booking one way tickets to leave the country.

Oman is projected to post an OMR3bn ($7.7bn) deficit this year and the country’s finance ministry has said new job openings in the public sector will be limited.

As a result, Omanis are being encouraged to seek employment in the private sector but there are concerns they will find limited job opportunities.

Read: Omanis turned to private sector due to ‘very limited’ government hiring

“Firing is happening everywhere. Private sector is struggling a lot in carrying out the current projects. At this time, if government expects that we will hire, we don’t know how much we will be able to live up to their expectations,” Anvwar Al Balushi, chairman of the Anwar Asian Investment Group, was quoted as saying.

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