Oman’s expat engineers fall as visa ban continues

Oman’s expat engineers fall as visa ban continues
Approximately 55,000 expatriates who previously worked in Oman have been dismissed by companies in one year, up to March, 2019. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 27 May 2019

Oman’s expat engineers fall as visa ban continues

Oman’s expat engineers fall as visa ban continues
  • The change is part of Oman’s ongoing strategy to replace foreign workers with locals from the country’s labor pool
  • The Gulf states have since launched nationalization programs to absorb more of their citizens into the labor force

DUBAI: The number of expats working in certain engineering professions in Oman’s private sector fell by nearly 7 percent by March 2019, compared to 2018, as the country continued in its push to cut unemployment among its local population, national daily Times of Oman reported.

There were 758,929 expats working in principal and auxiliary engineering professions in the private sector by March 2019, that’s down from 813,599 in 2018 and 838,802 in 2017, a difference of 54,670 engineers over the past year, according to data from the National Center for Statistics and Information.

The number of Omanis working in these positions in the private sector increased from 52,275 in 2017 to 55,731 in 2018, and again to 58,452 in 2019 – that’s an overall increase of nearly 12 percent - NCSI data shows.

Approximately 55,000 expatriates who previously worked in Oman have been dismissed by companies in one year, up to March, 2019, according to data published by the Omani government.

The change is part of Oman’s ongoing strategy to replace foreign workers with locals from the country’s labor pool, as the government continues its Omanization drive.

In Qatar, the expat workforce was as high as 95 percent while in the UAE it was 94 percent; 83 percent in Kuwait; 64 percent in Bahrain and 49 percent in Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf states have since launched nationalization programs to absorb more of their citizens into the labor force, as well as address high levels of unemployment.


Saudi PIF seeks investment flexibility with $5 billion-plus loan

Updated 04 December 2020

Saudi PIF seeks investment flexibility with $5 billion-plus loan

Saudi PIF seeks investment flexibility with $5 billion-plus loan
  • The loan finances are for use if and when the fund identifies investment opportunities 
  • PIF  is at the heart of the Kingdom’s strategy of economic diversification under its Vision 2030 reform plan

DUBAI: The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with bankers to raise a loan of between $5 billion (SR18.75 billion) and $7 billion to provide flexibility in its investment strategy.

The PIF has declined to comment on reports of the loan, said to be in the form of a revolving facility from a number of international banks, but sources said it was part of the fund’s regular financing arrangements, which have seen it take out and repay facilities for the past two years.

The loan finances are for use if and when the fund identifies investment opportunities and may not necessarily be used.

The PIF has been opportunistic during the coronavirus pandemic in identifying what it saw as undervalued assets on global stock markets and has been an active trader in securities on international markets.

The fund invested $7 billion in mainly US stocks in the first quarter of the year, when markets were first impacted by pandemic lockdowns, and increased and diversified that in the second quarter. It scaled back its commitments in the third quarter when asset values were near all-time highs. In the summer, it spent $1.5 billion to acquire a stake in the Indian digital business Jio Platforms.

PIF, under governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is at the heart of the Kingdom’s strategy of economic diversification under its Vision 2030 reform plan, while simultaneously building an international portfolio of assets.

Earlier this year, PIF repaid a $10 billion syndicated loan ahead of schedule after it completed the sale of its stake in SABIC to Saudi Aramco, and in 2018 it raised an $11 billion term-loan facility from international banks.

Previous fundraisings were done in partnership with a group of 10 banks from the US, Europe, and Asia that form part of the fund’s “core banking relationships.”