More than 8,000 young Omanis register for newly created military jobs

Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik orders 32,000 jobs to be created after protests last week

Omani military, in dress uniform, parade past  Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the capital Muscat, as the Sultanate marks its 42th National Day, on November 18, 2012. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED MAHJOUB (Photo by MOHAMMED MAHJOUB / AFP)
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A week after protests in Oman over a lack of employment opportunities, more than 8,000 Omanis registered for newly created military jobs.

The sultanate announced thousands of new jobs last week and an online portal was opened for applications.

State-owned Oman Television said on Wednesday that there had been an overwhelming response to the 10,000 available jobs in the military.

These include administrative, accounting and human resources roles, as well as opportunities as frontline military personnel and security guards.

Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tarik ordered the creation of 32,000 jobs to appease protesters demanding better opportunities, after several hundred unemployed young Omanis took to the streets in the north-western industrial city of Sohar.

A third of the jobs will be generated by the civil service and the military, with the rest provided by the private sector, the government said.

Last week's protests spilled over to the southern resort of Salalah, the eastern town of Sur and Nizwa, in the central  Al Dakhliya region.

Pictures and videos of the demonstrations were posted on social media.

Young jobseekers said they were looking forward to joining the military and to start earning some money.

"I am one of the many who applied for the military," said Harith Al Jardani, a secondary school graduate.

"I want to be a soldier and serve my country, wherever it wants me to be.

"But most importantly, this will give me an opportunity to earn some money after nearly a year of being jobless."

Sultan Haitham ordered a grant of 200 Omani rials ($500) a month to private sector companies for every Omani jobseeker employed this year, as an incentive for companies to take on locals.

The government has also announced a six-month stipend for those made redundant because of the Covid-19 the pandemic – including Omanis forced to return home from GCC countries.

They will be paid just over 200 Omani rials a month.

But while many young Omanis will welcome the initiatives to boost their  employment opportunities,  foreign workers in the private sector face losing their jobs to make way for locals.

"I have already been served with a three-month notice period to leave my job," said Ratish Chowdhari, 44, an Indian citizen working as a salesman in the City Centre Muscat shopping mall.

"I have been in Oman for 12 years and it is now coming to an end.

"I feel bad but my colleagues and I feel it has to happen when locals look for jobs.”