Expatriate workers in the public and private sectors have registered a significant fall during the recent months.

While the total number of expats fell by 14.3 per cent at the end of August 2020, those in the government sector narrowed by 19.9 per cent and 14.9 per cent.

According to the latest figures from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the number of expatriate workers in the government sector fell from 52,462 in June to 43,986 in August.

At the same time, the private sector witnessed a decline from 1,259,814 in June to 1,182,694 in August.

This means a total of 84,596 expat workers, in addition to their family dependents numbering 13,866, left the country in just three months.

While Indians accounted for the highest decline of 17.9 per cent, Bangladeshis fell by 12.1 per cent.

According to NCSI, as of the end of August, the number of Bangladeshis stood at 565,011, with Indians forming the second highest numbers at 517,702 and Pakistanis standing at 178,702.

Filipinos and Egyptians dropped by 5.9 per cent and 3.8 per cent to reach 45,917 and 32,070, respectively.

Commenting on the remarkable change in Oman’s expat population, Abdullah al Balushi, a human resource expert, said there’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about sweeping changes in the job market.

“Low-skilled workers are struggling the most as far as their job security is concerned. Lay-offs coupled with cut in wages have forced hundreds of foreign workers to leave the country”, he said.

In addition, he said, with most companies moving online, they are evaluating and recalibrating their business strategies to accelerate digital transformation.

This along with the government policy of nationalisation of jobs can lead to further drop in the expat number, he opined.

According to NCSI figures, as many as 51,681 expat workers left Muscat, which is home to the largest number of people of different nationalities, during the last three months.

This was followed by Dhofar with 10,565 workers leaving the governorate.

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