The number of Indians working in Oman has witnessed the biggest drop over the last two months as the Gulf nation has started implementing its nationalisation programme, new visa regulations and job bans.

There has also been a drop in Pakistani and Ethiopian numbers, the Times of Oman report said quoting latest data issued by the country’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The NCSI data shows that there was a dip of 0.1 per cent in the number of Indian workers in January this year when compared to December 2013.

While 599,473 Indians were working in Oman in December last year, the figure for January this year was only 598,674.

A dip of 0.1 per cent was also witnessed for Indian workers in December when compared with the data of November 2013.

According to the report, in November 2013, the number of Indian workers was 600,349, but it fell down to 599,473 in December.

“Since the first month of this year, the Ministry of Manpower imposed a temporary ban on different job categories for expatriates. In addition to this, new regulations have been imposed for visa status. These might have been reasons for the dip in the number of expatriates, mainly Indians,” Deepa Sudhir, one of the embassy panel lawyers, was quoted as saying.

It was reported last month that the ministry was committed to reducing the number of expatriates working in the private sector from the current level of 39 per cent to 33 per cent, which would see the number of expatriate workers ultimately dropping from 692,867 to 586,272.

“The government’s decision to reserve certain jobs only for Omanis as part of the Omanization process might have led to this situation. Changes in the visa status might also be an additional reason,” Shaji Sebastin, a Muscat-based social worker, told the newspaper.

(This article was published on March 17, 2014)
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