Stock Oman Muscat skyline
Oman announced the ‘exit scheme’ in 2020 for expat workers with expired permits to leave the country permanently. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: More than 58,000 expats have left Oman permanently as part of the exit scheme programme in 2021, Oman’s Minister of Labour has confirmed.

According to minister Mahad Bin Said Bin Ali Baawain, as many as 58,720 workers left the Sultanate during the grace period. “We have been actively working with various departments to eradicate illegal recruitment of labour and we have been very successful in that,” the minister noted.

Oman announced the ‘exit scheme’ in 2020 for expat workers with expired permits to leave the country permanently.

Dr. Mahad said the priority for the government is to create employment opportunities for at least 35,000 jobseekers, “as some of them will replace expats,” he added.

According to the statistics issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the rate of job seekers has increased from 1.9 per cent at the end of December to 2.2 per cent at the end of January.

“The age group of 15-24 years constitutes the majority among Omani job seekers with a rate of 16.9 per cent,” NCSI added.

The minister affirmed the government is doing its best to ensure the stability of youth in the labour market. “Last year we negotiated with 96 companies that expressed a desire to terminate the services of the national workforce. As a result, a total of 26,161 Omanis were reinstated in their private sector jobs,” he said.

“In 2020, the number of job seekers reached 65,000 but by the end of the academic year, about 30-35,000 got graduated, which raised the number to 90,000 job seekers. However, this number does not include job seekers who did not update their data and that number is estimated to be between 10,000-20,000 Omanis,” the minister added.

“By end of 2021, we could employ 40,000 Omanis, bringing the total number of job seekers in the range of 50,000 by December 2021,” he noted.