Saturday, March 02
09:28 AM

Expat population rebounds


144,000 new expats join workforce till June this year

Muscat – Oman’s expatriate worker population, which had dropped by around 303,000 or 17.7 per cent in two years (2020 and 2021), is on the rebound. Over 144,000 expats have been added to the workforce in the first half of 2022.

With the government announcing a budget surplus due to windfall gains from high international crude prices, signs of economic recovery are palpable in the country.

Recruitment picked up in the first six months of 2022, with over 57,000 Bangladeshi workers, 35,000 Indians and 34,000 from Pakistan forming the bulk of the new arrivals.

According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information, 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 in 2020 and 1,409,473 in 2021. But 2022 has seen a recovery; the expatriate workforce has gone up by 10.2 per cent – compared to the end of 2021 – to 1,553,981.

Year 2020 was the worst for the expatriate workforce, as over 269,600 left Oman, while 33,655 left in 2021.

In the two years combined, 303,325 expatriate workers left the country.

Sector distribution

The private sector, which employs the majority of expatriates, expanded by 10.5 per cent to 1,250,880 till June from 1,131,526 in 2021, while those engaged in the domestic/family sector grew up by nearly 13 per cent to 271,976 from 239,951.

However, the number of expatriates working in the government sector has fallen by 18 per cent to 31,125 from 37,996 at the end of 2021.

Bangladeshi workers continue to make up the bulk of the expatriate population, with their numbers rising by 10.7 per cent or 57,000 to 587,917 by June 2022 from 531,053 in 2021. The Indian expat worker population went up by 7.5 per cent or 35,000 to 506,184 from 471,178, while the Pakistani worker population rose by 17.5 per cent or nearly 34,000 to 228,681 from 194,048 – making up the top three expatriate employee populations.

The construction sector – the largest employer of expatriates – employs 401,016 and has added 48,000 new workers in the first half of 2022, followed by wholesale, retail and repair of automobiles as one sector (224,251), domestic sector (211,025), manufacturing (184,789), and accommodation and food services (115,271), accounting for the top five sectors for expat employment.

The governorate of Muscat is home to the largest number of expatriate workers (632,666), followed by North Batinah (221,723) and Dhofar (182,548).

The total population of Oman went up by 200,926 to 4,728,372?in June as compared to 4,527,446 at the end of 2021.

Of the total population in June, 1,894,657 were expatriates and 2,833,715 Omanis.

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