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Oman to reduce expats to 33% of population
February 18, 2014, 9:47 am

Oman has announced it intends to cut its expatriate population by 6 percentage points, or 200,000 people.

Foreigners presently make up about 39 percent of the Omani population of about 3.3 million, but they account for nearly 90 percent of all workers in the private sector, according to figures announced by the Manpower Ministry on Monday.

Minister of Manpower Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri did not announce any specific measures to help reduce the number of expats, suggesting it would naturally decline as authorities properly enforced the Labour Law.

Of the 1,776,583 people working in the private sector, 244,698 are Omanis, while 1,551,885 are expatriates, including 242,904 of them working in the special services.

Last year, a net 14,059 Omanis joined the private sector, Sheikh Abudllah said.

Oman and other GCC states are working to reduce expat numbers to increase the rate of national employment, particularly in the private sector.

Expat populations are at least as much as one-third in GCC states, while they make up a considerable percentage of the workforce.

More than 1 million foreigners left Saudi Arabia during a six-month amnesty on illegal workers last year, while Kuwait is said to be mulling a similar scheme to be implemented this year.

Kuwait has said it aims to reduce expat numbers by 1 million – or a third of its total population – by 2023.

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