Muscat: Expatriates leaving the country have caused Oman’s population to drop by nearly five per cent in the 12 months leading to September 2020, according to data from the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
The number of expatriates in Oman stood at 1,706,633 last September, compared to 2,001,003 in September 2019, reflecting a drop of 4.91 per cent over this time frame.
More than 40,000 expatriates left in August 2020, when there were a reported 1,747,844 non-Omanis in the country.
The biggest drop was seen in the agriculture and fisheries sector, where numbers fell by 66 per cent over the past 12 months. 60,122 non-Omanis were employed in this sector at the end of 2019, a number that has dwindled to just 23,774.
The construction sector also took a big hit, with 24.8 per cent of expat employees leaving over the past 12 months. Expats employed in this field dropped from 490,206 at the start of the year, to 382,414.
The manufacturing sector shed 15.7 per cent of its foreign staff, with numbers dropping to 167,972 from 197,422. The retail sector, which also includes the sale and maintenance of motor vehicles, saw 14 per cent of its expat workforce leave in the past year, the numbers falling from 235,640 to 203,923.
Expats working in accommodation and food-related service saw their numbers drop from 121,289 to 104,666 people, a drop of 13.7 per cent.
In terms of nationality, all the expat communities in Oman witnessed significant drops. The presence of Indian nationals dropped by 21 per cent to touch 492,276, down from 617,730 at the end of 2019.
Similarly, the Bangladeshi community has over the last 10 months, bid farewell to nearly 100,000 of their countrymen here: numbers at the end of 2019 were 630,681, and they fell to 546,681 this October.
With the exception of the Wusta Governorate (8.6 per cent), all of the other 10 governorates of Oman saw decreases of between 14 and 18 per cent between October 2019 and October 2020.
Among them, Muscat recorded the highest departure rate of expats (18 per cent), with numbers falling from 731,088 at the end of 2019 to 602,916 in October 2020.
The lowest rate of decline was recorded in the Governorate of Ad Dakhiliyah (14.7 per cent). At the end of 2019, there were 110,255 expats living there, a number that has dropped to 94,755 in October 2020.