Working in Oman
Government statistics showed foreign workers are more than twice the number of Omani workers; it is estimated that out of the three million population of Omani, 852,907 are expatriates working in private companies against 304,869 Omanis workers.
Compensation packages in Omani are very attractive for any foreign worker.
While Omanization Policy is still implemented, expatriates face a lot of challenges to become part of the Omani workforce.
Times of Oman reported that current statistics provided by the Ministry of Manpower shows the unemployment rate of Oman dropped by 75% in May 2008 with a 5% rate compared to almost 20% in 2003.
All foreign nationals need a sponsor in order to enter Oman. The process 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 of their behavior 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.
Since Oman is a fast developing country with numerous infrastructure projects, it continue generates 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.
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 in teaching opportunities in Oman. Berlitz and Linguarama are some of the 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. Visit their website for more information.
Often, wife of working expats seek 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.
Bilingual expats who are fluent in Arabic and English can find part-time or short-term work as interpreters, which are often needed in trainings and seminars.
How to find a job in Oman
Job opportunities in Oman are available in newspapers and job portals online. Also, private recruitment agencies play an important role in 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 laborers. Local Omani agencies, however, tend to fill in expatriates for part time work or foreign employees whose contract is nearing the end.
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.
Monthly wage is set at OMR140 (USD$364) for Omani citizens. However, there is no set minimum wage for foreign workers.
Omani office hours start from 8:30am or 9:00am and ends at 5: 30pm to 6:00pm. A typical workweek vary 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.
By January 1, 2010, the Sultanate's corporate tax will change to 12%. Among the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, it is said to be the lowest corporate tax rate. Although, companies employing more than 70% foreign workers will be subject to 30% corporate tax rate.
In Oman, there is no income tax on individuals and consumption tax or value-added tax (VAT).
Expat Services in Oman
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