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Thousands of expats health workers replaced in Oman

  • More than 39,000 Omanis now work for the country’s Ministry of Health
  • Before Omanization began expats accounted for more than 70% of the country’s workforce

Beirut: Nearly 3,000 expats employed in Oman’s health sector were replaced in 2018 as the ongoing Omanization project aimed at reducing unemployment levels among the country’s nationals continued, national daily Times of Oman reported.

There were 2,869 foreign nationals replaced by Omanis from 2015 to 2019, pushing the proportion of locals working within the Ministry of Health to 39,220 – that’s 71 percent of the total workforce by the end of last year – according to Ministry of Health figures.

Oman introduced the expat visa ban in January 2018 for a six-month period for certain professions.

There have been a number of extensions to the ban since then and it has also been expanded to cover other industries and professions.

Tens of thousands of Omanis have found work since the ban was brought in.

Historically Gulf countries have been dependent on expatriate workers to power their economies.

A 2013 study revealed that up to 71 percent of Oman’s labor force were foreign-nationals.

In Qatar the expatriate workforce was as high as 95 percent, in the UAE it was 94 percent; 83 percent in Kuwait; 64 percent in Bahrain and 49 percent in Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf states have since launched nationalization programs to absorb more of their citizens into the workforce, slashing the high levels of unemployment.

Oman’s expat population has dropped significantly since the introduction of the ban.