Expats planning on working in Oman will discover that the country's recent history of dependence on skilled foreign labour has paved the way for a smooth transition into the business culture. Almost half of the country's population comprises expat workers, mainly from Bangladesh, India, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan and the Philippines. 

The Omani workforce is not only accustomed to the presence of foreigners but also sensitive to their needs and appreciative of their talents. That said, with Omanisation, it's not always easy to enter the job market.

Job market in Oman


Expat jobs in Oman are becoming increasingly limited. This is due to the government's policy of Omanisation, which aims to employ more Omani nationals than foreigners in the local workforce. Omani authorities must be convinced that a local worker could not adequately fill the position concerned before issuing an employment visa.

Although this can negatively affect mid-level or younger employees, those with particularly impressive qualifications or years of experience working at the top level in their chosen fields should not struggle to find an attractive job in Oman.

Still, the job market for certain sectors remains relatively healthy and there are Oman Free Zones, which offer lower Omanisation quotas. Expats can find jobs in the industrial sector as well as hospitality, retail and contracting sectors. Some expat jobs are available in banking, finance and marketing, while healthcare specialists, teachers, project managers and IT specialists also remain in demand.

Finding a job in Oman

Since it is illegal to work in Oman on a visitor’s visa, expats must have a firm job offer before arriving in the country. 

There are many job portals and online platforms to use when looking for work in Oman, including LinkedIn and Indeed. Recruitment agents and relocation firms are pricier alternatives but can provide personalised assistance.

Expats will be hired on a fixed-term contract basis, and their Omani hiring company will even appoint a 'sponsor' to help organise an employment visa. We recommend employees read their contracts carefully as some expat contracts have been terminated early due to Omanisation, and renewals are not necessarily a given.

Omani employers are accustomed to providing attractive expat salary packages, often including transport, accommodation, flights home, medical insurance and schooling stipends. If not, we recommend expats negotiate this.

Changing jobs

One of the sharpest double-edged swords for foreigners working in Oman is the issue of finding and changing jobs. There is a downside to this setup of attractive employment packages: since the hiring company invests significant time, effort and money to get an expat to Oman, changing jobs has proven extremely difficult in the past. 

Previously, expats who left a position also had to leave Oman for two years before returning to take up another position. Alternatively, employers may have signed a clearance letter or No Objection Certificate (NOC) to allow the change of jobs. Unfortunately, many employers refused to sign the NOC. 

The good news: the strict regulations on NOCs no longer apply, which makes changing jobs much easier. As laws are subject to change, it's important to follow up with employers and embassies for the most up-to-date advice.

Useful links

  • Expats looking for work in Oman can check out GulfTalent or Bayt for job listings in the country.
  • Social media groups such as Jobs in Oman have a host of job listings across the country.

Work culture in Oman

Working together

New arrivals in Oman are unlikely to find the work culture especially alienating or challenging. Oman's reliance on foreign labour over the past few decades has meant that expat workers are now an established feature of the country's professional milieu. Still, while Oman is more progressive than its neighbouring countries, prejudiced and antiquated attitudes about women may be felt.

We recommend getting familiar with Arabic business culture, which differs from Western norms in certain respects. The Omani workforce upholds a strong work ethic and values loyalty, honesty, humility and the ability to foster personal relationships between co-workers. Most importantly, expats must remain respectful of the tenets of Islam, which play a significant role in the day-to-day life of Omani colleagues.

Omani work weeks are typically between 40 and 48 hours, depending on the industry. Daily working hours are highly dependent on the specific business and generally differ between Omani and Western-structured businesses.

Work-life balance in Oman

Working life in the Gulf is known for a peculiar phenomenon known as the split shift. Many businesses in Oman prefer to start work early, break for a long, three-hour lunch, and then return to work for a late afternoon session. Split shift timings are usually 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm. Not all organisations follow this system, though. Government institutions will usually work from 7am to 2pm, and private companies with a Western ethos will usually work a full shift from 7am to 4pm.

The official weekend in Oman is Friday and Saturday. Public holidays are determined by the government and most are religious holidays, which follow the Hijri calendar and the moon. The holidays can’t be officially declared until the new moon has been spotted by the Moon Sighting Committee.

During Ramadan, all Muslims and people working in government organisations have reduced working hours – six hours instead of eight – following Oman's labour law. Some private-sector companies also reduce working hours during Ramadan for both Muslims and expats.

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