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Expat workers drop by 15.7 per cent with 270,000 leaving in 2020

24 Jan 2021

Oman’s expatriate worker population dropped by 15.7 per cent – accounting for around 270,000 people – in 2020. Over 125,000 of those who left were from India. 

According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there were 1,712,798 expatriate employees working in various sectors in the sultanate at the end of 2019. The number dropped to 1,443,128 at the end of December 2020 with 269,670 expatriates leaving Oman in the year 2020. 

In 2020, the number of expatriates working in the government sector fell by 22.8 per cent to 42,240 from 54,687 at the end of 2019. 

The private sector which employs the majority of expatriates shrank by 15.8 per cent to 1,148,207 last year from 1,363,955 in 2019, while those engaged in the domestic/family sector came down by 14.1 per cent to 252,681 from 294,156. 

Though Bangladeshi workers continue to make up the bulk of the expatriate population, however their numbers declined by 12.2 per cent or 76,718 to 553,963 in 2020 from 630,681 in 2019. The Indian expat worker population declined by 20.3 per cent or 125,427 to 492,303 from 617,730, while the Pakistani worker population fell by 12.9 per cent or 26,659 to 180,629 from 207,288. 

Filipinos – 5,359 left, a drop of 10.8 per cent, reducing their number to 44,097 workers – and Egyptians – 4,087 left, a fall of 11.7 per cent, to drop their total to 30,961 – make up the top five expatriate employee populations.

The NCSI stated that the Governorate of Muscat, which is home to the largest number of expatriate workers, saw their number fall by 17.6 per cent to 602,062 in 2020 from 731,088 in 2019. 

North Batinah hosts the second largest expat worker population, which fell 14 per cent to 204,445 from 237,776. It is followed by Dhofar which had 165,959 expat workers at the end of December 2020, a fall of 15.1 per cent from 195,371 in 2019. 


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