Bangladeshi expatriates in Oman. More Bangladeshis are being hired as their wages are lower than that of other nationalities. Image Credit: Supplied

Muscat: Bangladeshis constitute the largest number of expatriate workers in Oman for the second year in a row, according to the latest statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

According to the NCSI, as of the end of May 2018, the number of Bangladeshis stood at 680,242 compared to 682,702 in April 2017.

Indians, came in the second place with their number dropping to 674,758 from 688,696 during the same period.

Indians used to constitute the largest expatriate force until they were surpassed by Bangladeshis two years ago.

Nasser Al Beloushi, an expert on the labour market, offered an explanation for the demographic changes.

“Bangladeshis are willing to work for lesser wages than other nationalities,” he told Gulf News.

This means they are more heavily recruited by companies hoping to save on expenses amid a drop in oil prices which has led to an economic slow down in the country.

The number of Pakistani workers dropped to 227,079 in May this year from 229,378 in April 2017.

On the other hand, number of Filipinos workers increased to 46,458 in May this year from 46,106 in April 2017.

The total number of expatriate workers in Oman at the end of May, 2018 stood at 1,830.394 against 1,836.569 in April last year.

“Bangladeshis earn between 70 to 120 riyals a month, which is less than what workers from other countries are willing to accept,” said Al Beloushi.

Meanwhile, Oman’s population reached 4,586,601 on July 6, according to the NCSI.

The number of Omanis stood at 2,580,595 who constitute 56.3 per cent of the total population, while the number of expatriates stood at 2,006,006.

The number of expatriates has significantly increased in the past five years, reaching 43 per cent in the middle of 2015, compared to 29 per cent in 2010 and 38.9 per cent in 2011.

Ban extended

The Ministry of Manpower has extended a temporary ban on hiring expats in the country.

On January 25, the ministry had imposed a temporary ban on hiring expats in 87 professions for six months.

The move is aimed at making more room to employ Omanis in the private sector, according to the ministry.

The new ban, which goes into effect on July 30, will also be effective for six months.

“The period of ban, on permits to bring temporary expatriate manpower in the private sector establishments for the professions specified in ministerial decision No. 38/2018, shall continue for a period of six months from 30 July 2018,” according to the decision of the Ministry of Manpower.

Media, airlines, accounting, management, medical, information systems and insurance are sectors which will be impacted the most.

In the past six months, at least 32,000 Omanis have been given jobs in private sector companies, according to the official figures.