An Omani man walks along the Mutrah Corniche seafront lined with 19th Century merchants houses in the old city of Muscat, Oman, on Monday, May 7, 2018. Being the Switzerland of the Gulf served the country well over the decades, helping the sultanate survive, thrive and make it a key conduit for trade and diplomacy in the turbulent Middle East. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg
A man walks along the Mutrah Corniche seafront in the old city of Muscat, Oman. Christopher Pike / Bloomberg

Oman's hiring freeze puts more locals in private sector jobs — but not enough



Oman's government extended a freeze on hiring foreigners because the number of local workers in the private sector was not rising fast enough — but official statistics indicate the ban may not be necessary, experts say.

A six-month ban on expatriate hires in 10 sectors — including media, information technology, marketing, insurance and aviation — was announced in January and will now continue until the end of the year.

The number of Omanis employed by the private sector in these industries rose by 3.6 per cent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2017, according to the National Centre for Statistics Information (NCSI). In the same period, there was a 1.5 per cent drop in the number of expatriates registered in the private sector overall.

However, the figures were short of the government's target and that is why it decided to extend its non-citizens hiring ban, said Hafidh Al Harmali, an independent employment expert.

"I don't think the government is happy with the outcome of the first ban and this has led to the ban extension. About 2,000 jobs were created for Omanis in these banned jobs — that is encouraging but not enough," Mr Al Harmali told The National. "However, we need to wait until end of this year when the extended ban comes to an end to see its real impact."

_______________

Read more:

Oman faces property crash as foreign workers leave

Oman considers IPO of airports company by 2020 amid privatisation drive

Omani women call time on workplace discrimination

_______________

Omanis are still outnumbered almost eight to one by foreign workers in the private sector, according to the ministry of manpower's figures. As of April, there were 245,253 Omani employees in the private sector compared with 1.84 million foreigners.

But Ali Al Zaabi, an Omani economist working for the government, said statistics on new private-sector jobs created for Omanis showed that there was no need to restrict hiring of expatriates, whose expertise was still needed by the sultanate.

The government said in October that it planned to start creating 25,000 new jobs in the private sector from December to reduce unemployment among Omanis. A total of 16,823 jobs were created by the end of May, the manpower ministry's statistics show.

"We don't need to restrict expatriates too much and that has just been proven by the creation of 16,823 new jobs since December last year," said Mr Al Zaabi, who works at the ministry of regional municipality.

"This also proves that the private sector can generate enough jobs. It makes sense now to keep employing more Omanis and let the employment sector takes its natural course,” he said.

“The private sector still needs expatriates and our economy still depends on their expertise. We are doing fine at the moment and the latest employment figures prove it without going into these restrictions.”

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

THE BIO

Mr Al Qassimi is 37 and lives in Dubai
He is a keen drummer and loves gardening
His favourite way to unwind is spending time with his two children and cooking

The specs

Engine: 0.8-litre four cylinder

Power: 70bhp

Torque: 66Nm

Transmission: four-speed manual

Price: $1,075 new in 1967, now valued at $40,000

On sale: Models from 1966 to 1970

RESULT

Huddersfield Town 1 Manchester City 2
Huddersfield: Otamendi (45'+1 og), van La Parra (red card 90'+6)
Man City: Agüero (47' pen), Sterling (84')

Man of the match: Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield Town)

Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales
​​​​​​​Najlaa Khoury, Archipelago Books

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices