Muscat: Oman has seen a decrease in expatriates working as managers in the private sector, according to data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The decrease is seemingly related to Oman’s push to afford better job opportunities for nationals, as unemployment has risen due to the slump in oil prices.

A three per cent drop in the number of expatriate managers has been recorded in the first half of 2016.

Typically expatriate labour is focused in the construction, services and engingeering industries.

Out of the 210,000 people working as managers, Omanis now constitute 4.8 per cent of that workforce.

The Minister of Manpower, Abdullah Al Bakri, said last year that Omanis should replace expatriates in all managerial and leadership positions in the private sector.

Oman’s only elected legislative body, the Shura Council, has recommended that 40 per cent of all senior positions in the private sector should be reserved for Omanis in the next five years.

Oman’s expatriate population has rapidly grown over the past five years. according NCSI figures.

Currently, expatriates form around 45.5 per cent of the total population, whereas they accounted for 38.9 per cent of the population in 2011 and 29 per cent in 2010.

In April alone, the expatriate population increased by almost one per cent.

The majority of expatriate workers are Indian, accounting for 687,592 people, followed by 630,433 Bangladeshis.

Economy experts say the sharp increase of expatriates is a direct result of Oman’s push to build mega infrastructure projects, which requires massive manpower.

Oman’s population currently stands at 4.4 million with nationals constituting 50.5 per cent of the total population.