Moving to Oman
Despite being located at the center of Middle East, The Sultanate of Oman remains a peaceful oasis that continues to enjoy economic, social and political stability.
The financial crisis did not spare the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), but Oman stands strong with its stable economy, backed by a robust production and export of oil and natural gas. Oman’s GDP reached $79.66 B in 2013.
Expatriates, which accounts for 39% of the total population, play a big role in the Omani labor market, although, the government is giving a greater emphasis to "Omanization" of the labor force. Omanization is a program by the government that aims to replace expatriates with trained Omani personnel. Moreover, fixed Omanization targets were set by the government to six areas of the private sector mainly Transport, Storage and Communications (60%); Finance (45%); Industry (35%); Hotels and Restaurant (30%); Wholesale or Retail Trading (20%); and Contracting (15%). Companies meeting the Omanization targets and those who comply with the eligibility criteria are awarded a "green card," and are given preferential treatment with the company's name published in local newspapers.
The country holds great potential in tourism, however, unlike Dubai, Oman's desire to develop the tourism sector only to the extent that it does not conflict their conservative society. Muscat, the capital, dubbed as "Arabia's Jewel," contrary to being pigeonholed as part of a desert country, it is a green city with manicured roads of green lawns and trees. Salalah, with its world-class port and infrastructure, is the country's leading industrial hub. Oman's diverse topography consists of mountain ranges, arid deserts, and fertile plains, occupying a total area of 309,500 square meters. Located in the southwest of Asia, the Sultanate lies on the southeast corner of Arabian Peninsula with neighboring countries like Republic of Yemen to the southwest, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west and the United Arab Emirates to the northwest.
Beyond its spellbinding majestic mountains is a land of friendly faces, as the expatriate population is rapidly increasing in Oman even with the Omanization policy. Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. Its official religion is Islam, however, under Oman's Basic Law other religions are tolerated in the country. Most of the citizens are Ibadhi Muslims or Sunni Muslims. Christian communities like Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and various Protestant congregations are mostly centered in major urban areas of Muscat, Sohar, and Salalah. Oman's patriarchal culture combined with conservative religious norm has an intense impact on women. Traditional Islamic values look onto men as the breadwinner or providers while women are considered merely as homemakers. Western workers served as a catalyst for Arab women to widen their career fields and defy being stereotyped only as a teacher or a nurse. Today, opportunities for women continue to arise in fields of hotel management and airline industry. Like any Arab countries, Omanis strongly adhere to the teachings of Islam and the official language, Arabic, is widely used. As an expat living in a Muslim country, one must wear modest clothes in public especially entering mosques. Women must wear appropriate clothing that covers their upper arms and legs to the knee. Men should wear long trousers and shirts.
While in Oman, expats are cautioned to conform to Omanis customs and laws. One should note that Omanis find it insulting if a person expresses frustrations verbally or through hand gestures; it is considered as a personal defamation, which can be even filed against an individual.
As Oman takes essential steps in executing its economic strategy based on a series of five-year plans, it will continue to play an integral part in the world economy.
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