Oman announced Sunday it will bar expatriates from certain jobs in an effort to create more employment opportunities for its citizens amid an economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a region that depends heavily on cheap foreign labor, expats in the sultanate make up about 40 percent of the country’s 4.5 million-strong population.
“A number of jobs in the private sector will be nationalized,” the Omani labor ministry announced on Twitter on Sunday.
It added the work permits of foreigners in those professions will not be renewed after their expiry date.
Various jobs in insurance companies, shops and car dealerships, including finance, commercial and administrative positions, will be “limited to Omanis only,” the ministry said.
Work as a driver, “no matter what the vehicle,” will also be reserved for citizens, it added.
In April 2020, Oman ordered state-owned companies to accelerate the process of replacing foreign staff with Omani nationals, especially in senior positions, to create more jobs for citizens.
The finance ministry at the time said large numbers of expatriates still occupied managerial posts in state-run firms.
Since 2014, the oil-rich Gulf region has been hit hard by falling crude prices, suffering a new blow amid the global economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Oman and fellow GCC states Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain have sought to diversify their economies and integrate millions of new graduates into their workforces.
All have introduced legislation to give nationals preference over foreigners in both the public and private sectors.
More than 25 million foreigners live in the Gulf, making up the majority of the populations in the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.
UAE set to amend law granting citizenship to expats with certain criteria: ReportThe United Arab Emirates is set to amend its laws governing citizenship to make it possible for expats to receive the Emirati nationality provided ... Gulf
Kuwait passes draft law to crackdown on number of expatsA panel at Kuwait’s National Assembly passed a draft law Sunday designed to limit the number of expats in the country over the next five years as ... Gulf
Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia renews expired residency visas of expats stuck abroadSaudi Arabia has announced the automatic renewal of expired residency visas of expats stuck abroad due to travel restrictions as a result of the ... Coronavirus
Kuwait ministries begin ‘Kuwaitization’, 50 percent of expats to be laid off: ReportFifty percent of expatriates working for subcontractors in Kuwaiti government ministries will be laid off in the next three months, according to a ... Gulf