Job opportunities for expats in Oman are reducing after the government banned foreigners from working in nine business sectors.
The aim is to improve the jobs market from Omanis.
Expats are banned from applying for or renewing work permits for the following posts in private sector businesses:
- Assistant general manager
- Administrative director
- Human resources director
- Personnel director
- Training director
- Follow-up director
- Public relations director
- Assistant director
- Any administrative or clerical role
The Omani Ministry of Manpower has yet to clarify the exact roles under some of the titles – for instance, there is no clear explanation of what an administrative or clerical role covers and some roles listed in Arabic do not match any typical posts.
Kuwait slashes expat numbers
Meanwhile, the number of expats working in Kuwait’s public sector has dropped to just under 82,000 – down 28% since 2012.
The number of Western expats is minimal – just 183 from Europe, 196 from North America and 9 from Australia.
However, the latest official data shows expats outnumber Kuwaitis by almost three to one.
The total population is 4.75 million, comprising 1.4 million Kuwaitis (29%) and 3.3 million expats (70%).
Saudi to welcome wealthy investors
Saudi Arabia is wooing expats by offering two new visas – one permanent and the other renewable each year offering special investment and property-owning privileges.
“Our aim is to attract innovators from across the world to live and work in Saudi Arabia — and this reform will play a significant role in doing so,” said Ibrahim Al Omar, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.
“These investors and entrepreneurs will help to drive private sector growth.”
The scheme would exempt some wealthy expats from registration under Saudi Arabia’s kafala program that already covers 10 million foreigners. Under kafala, they must be sponsored by an employer and face restrictions on where they can live and travel.
SAGIA aims to publish full details of the scheme during the summer.
The measure is in line with similar moves in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are encouraging expats to retire to the Gulf.
Urging wealthy expats to play a greater role in the Gulf State economies is part of a general push to move away from reliance on oil and gas.