Working in Oman
Oman is a nation bordered by Goliath Middle-Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This oldest independent Arab state has an estimated 4.2 million population whereas around 1.8 million are foreign nationals.
The Sultanate of Oman possesses a middle-income economy that has long been dependent on its oil resources. However, the country’s declining reserves during the recent years pushed the local government to create policies that are inclined towards diversification, privatisation and industrialisation. The objective behind the changes is to reduce the contribution of the oil sector in the national Gross Domestic Product by 9% by 2020. Two of the key components in Oman’s diversification strategy are the gas-based and tourism industry. The government of Oman also allowed 70% of ownership to foreign investors thus, attracting a large amount of investment from the international business community which led to more job opportunities.
The Job Market
From being heavily reliant on oil alone, the Sultanate now has several developed and job producing sectors which include industrial tourism, telecommunication and real estate. Since Oman is a fast developing country with numerous infrastructure projects, it continues to generate many jobs within the construction industry. Along with the Sultanate's diversification plans, expatriates are being hired in sectors like banking, manufacturing, information technology and agriculture. Bilingual expats who are fluent in Arabic and English can find part-time or short-term work as interpreters, which are often needed in training and seminars.
English is taught in Omani schools as a second language and is spoken on commercial establishments. Nonetheless, due to the government's stringent laws on immigration, there is a noticeable shortage of native English speakers and teachers. Hence, there is a high demand for teaching opportunities in Oman. Berlitz and Linguarama are some of the most notable language schools in Oman.
Private tutoring is also common job opportunities for expats, who are English teachers. English is a major part of university entrance examinations. Private tutors are high in demand for Omani students wanting to pass or retaking the examinations. Opportunities to teach in private schools are also available. Most often, these schools cater to the children of foreign nationals residing with their family in Oman. Expatriates with an RSA Diploma or PGCE in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a minimum of two years teaching experience can find teaching positions for British Councils. Those with postgraduate qualification and a minimum of five years experience can apply for senior or managerial positions.
Tips for Finding a Job
Job opportunities in Oman are available in newspapers and job portals online such as:
Also, private recruitment agencies play an important role in the placement of foreign workers in Oman. Agencies in London and New York staff most of the managerial positions in Oman. Asian recruitment agencies recruit for staffing of construction labourers. Local Omani agencies, however, tend to fill in expatriates for part time work or foreign employees whose contract is nearing the end.
Often, wife of working expats seeks part-time work to earn extra money or simply to occupy their time. However, women who are eligible to work need to obtain a separate visa and sponsor from their husbands. It is not an easy process for women as many employers refuse to support their work visas, as a result of steadfastly clinging to Oman tradition.
The Importance of Sponsorship
All foreign nationals need a sponsor in order to enter Oman. The process of sponsorshit in Oman is an effective form of immigration control whereas the sponsor acts as a guardian and guarantor for the foreign national. Sponsors handle the application for (work or residence) visa, opens a bank account and the rental accommodation. Most often, the employers sponsor their employees and handles, although, business partners, associates and hotels can sponsor a visitor. Notably, if a sponsored individual contravenes with any of the regulations, the sponsor takes sole responsibility for their behaviour that will cause him to lose face in the community.
"Official documents and procedures in Oman are expected to be lengthy, don't expect anything to be done in a hurry. Be patient, don't expect too much, and it's advisable to have a translator accompany you sometimes just to speed up procedure."- Heather Duncan, Expat in Muscat, Oman
One must pass the medical examinations prior to being granted of the work or residence visa. The health check intends to check any infectious diseases and infirmities like HIV and AIDS. If migrating with a spouse, the same test will be administered. Once a visa is renewed, these tests need to be passed again.
Compared to western countries, wages in Oman are often similar, but with better benefits. In addition to the salary, by law, indemnity or end-of-contract bonus (also known as ‘end service benefits') will be awarded to expatriate workers as a monetary gift for being of service to the state. The amount of indemnity is 15 days or 20 days of pay per year of employment for the first three years and a month's salary per year of employment. Currently, the average monthly salary in Oman is OMR 1,550 or USD 4,000 which can still vary depending on the expatriate’s job and skills.
Omani office hours usually start from 8:30am or 9:00am and ends at 5:30pm to 6:00pm. A typical workweek varies depending on the company policy. However, it is usually 40 to 48 hours. Friday is considered a Muslim rest day. Most companies having a five-day workweek has Thursdays or Saturdays as their employee's day off. As a Muslim country, a day's work may be reduced to six hours in the months of Ramadan. Notably, this should apply to foreign and local employees. However, some companies grant the reduced hours only to Muslim employees.
Expat Services in Oman
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