Oman: Foreigners Go Home…or at least Go Away

There was an article in Huffington Post last month titled, “Oman: Foreigners Go Home“.  I feel there is quite a bit of truth in that article.  The new law that expats cannot come back to Oman if they quit one job seems to confirm it.  Read an article on the new law banning the expat workforce for 2 years here from the Times of Oman.  We will be leaving Oman at the end of June and we are really looking forward to it for so many reasons.  I have tried to stay as positve as possible about living here in Oman, but it is definitely no “paradise”! (Nor is any country of course!)  It seems to be that the longer one stays in the Sultanate, the more the magic wears off.  Anyone else feel that way?  

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35 responses to “Oman: Foreigners Go Home…or at least Go Away

  1. Here in the UK the feeling comes and goes every 6-9 months. In Japan I remember one got 3 months honeymoon with the country and then all the bad stuff started surfacing.

    I always say the only ways to hate a place is if you know less than 10% or more than 90% of it.

  2. I made this place my home for 25 years. Was born here, brought up here. I wish the country understood the feelings of their expat population especially the ones that have been here since before concrete roads were built but they’re so busy shooing us away. It’ll be heart breaking when I leave here. It wasn’t paradise but it was home.

  3. I agree with all of the above. There is good and bad everywhere but the foreigners are becoming worse off here. Given that we have actually built and developed the country, there is no respect or thanks.

    • So true! No respect or thanks and there is even an idea that because Oman is supposedly a true paradise (in their minds) that we should consider ourselves privileged or honored even to be allowed to work here in the first place.

  4. This is common feeling you get where ever you go.When things go worse doesn’t mean that you run away.My life taught me to hit back as hard as you can that you will definitely taste the win out off it.Oman is my birth place and never lived there.But all i can tell you is you can make it your paradise if you are truly the best of what you do.Remember that improving your odds doesn’t guarantee you success.Good luck bro!

    • I’m not following you at all, Sanoj. Leaving Oman (or any country?) is somehow “running away”? How does one “hit back as hard as you can” we you see an increasing gap between how locals (often less qualified with less experience) are treated/paid versus the expats? If they are so “valuable”, let all the expats be gone and let’s see how the country does!

      • That’s because the unemployment among locals is relatively high.It’s pointless to show them your face and walk off Andy.They would still love to go back to previous centuries and live happily with out the high skilled expats like you. Its no big deal for the little county “Oh Man”!! “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

  5. I left Oman last month after 10 years there and don’t miss it a bit… everything above is true – the country is heading for a huge fall….

  6. It’s sad to see such resentment coming from those who have resided in the country for a long time. At one point or another you considered Oman your home and felt it was worth considering as a residence.
    I do hope that whatever reason it may be that drove you to leave the country doesn’t reflect on only the news of the new rule but of your actual whole experience in Oman regardless of the good, bad and ugly.
    There is no utopia anywhere you go but we make do with what we have at hand

    Andy, I am actually saddened with your departure.

    • Don’t be too saddened, Dahlia! We are leaving with many memories; some good, some bad but let’s not forget that I met my wife in Oman and we had our 2 children here so our memories will always gravitate more to the postive! We’ve met some wonderful people in Oman including you and your husband. We will always pray for and hope for God’s best to the Sultanate of Oman and its residents, whether citizens OR temporary residents! 🙂

  7. I’m a returnee and Oman has it’s good and bad moments. The change back to the dark ages with regard to labour law is definitely a bad. I intended to leave a yea ago, and am within the last long months before I do. Time for new issues in different lands!

  8. Good riddance

    • That must be the famous “Omani hospitality” we’ve heard so much about, hahaha!

      • Hahhaa no, an American expat who finds you to be mostly annoying. You can check the IP address as you usually like to do in an attempt to be clever.

        • You mean an anonymous American coward who hinds behind anonymity to hurl insults at others. And you’re sending your pearls of wisdom from Akron, Ohio, I see. Nice try.

          • “Bla bla bla”, says American Cleveland idiot but doesn’t realize that his comments are no longer welcome anywhere on this blog. Bye bye now!

  9. And when the foreign workers do go home, what is left behind? an ever- shrinking pool of external talent and a local pool that does not have the necessary experience to fill in the gaps, despite the numerous work training programmes. Less people will choose to come here because they will be effectively imprisoned in one job and can’t really settle here with the freedom to move jobs revoked. It’s a strange proposal with many holes left to be filled in.

  10. Andy, I for one am extremely sad you and your family are leaving Oman. Please let me know when I can see you and Che before you go. As for the new visa ban, I am certain the beautiful and hospitable Oman does not want to intentionally drive us away. We’ll just have to wait for more clarification.

  11. P.S. comment above is from me 🙂

  12. The Last Baron

    Dear all,
    I have been in Oman one year now. I find Omanis warm and welcoming when they are not behind the wheel of a car trying to kill themselves or me, but there is definitely a growing anti-expat attitude here which seems to be getting stronger every day. I do not know if I will stay in this country much longer, but, on the other hand, cannot honestly say it is worse than other places. I went to Russia to work, but fled that horrible country after only 4 months, and I seem to be making (by experience) a list of places that turn out to be awful once I have lived there any length of time. Among the exceptions: Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. But there is no panacea, no paradise anywhere, sadly.
    Oman, I find, is sadly getting less hospitable and turning a cold shoulder to expats in some ways, while in others it remains open, welcoming and warm – in short, somewhat of an enigma.

  13. Question at a job interview “So, what are your qualifications for the position?”
    Puzzled look on the face of the candidate “What do you mean? I am Oman I”

    Le fin, as you say

  14. Hi Andy, its sad to know ur leaving, we will miss ur news and updates… I was happy I bumped into you earlier today at the Doner Kebab 🙂
    I have to say that staying in here is a choice we all took and yes they are making it harder, by fact Oman was the only oasis in the region with such developed labor laws and surely this is a step backwards which I believe would be reviewed in the futrue.
    Best of luck buddy in where ever ur moving to

  15. Wow, Andy I am sorry to hear about your experience in Oman. I arrived in Oman as an expat kid when I was a toddler (and MQ consisted of 5 houses). Like many expats I spent some of my youth overseas in boarding school and then came back as an adult to live and work in Muscat. My family recently left Oman after 38 years, I also no longer live in Oman but in my passport country. I have visited at least once a year since then though. In my family, we are extremely fond of Oman and Omanis and compared to how we were treated in other countries in Europe, Oman was indeed a sort of paradise, albeit with its flaws. Demonising expats is sad, considering the amount of work, sweat and sometimes affection expats put into helping build modern Oman, but I think that just like in life, sometimes you have to start before you’re ready. I think that when the remaining responsibility is shifted back to Omanis they will step up and they will find their way. As everywhere around the world there are plenty of skilled, hardworking and entrepreneurial Omanis. The fact that the lifestyle in Oman is slower is not a bad thing. Having time for family and other pursuits is great! Unfortunately, from an entrepreneurial standpoint Oman’s labour laws regarding expats were well meaning back then but misguided. I closed my Tech business down in Oman because I couldn’t get the skilled labour I needed in order to keep providing tech services to European clients. From an employment point of view, hiring expats would have enabled me to provide Omanis with jobs as well. It is not always a zero sum game with foreign labour. Then again, Oman has deliberately chosen not to follow in Dubai’s footsteps. I think that is fair enough and I wish Oman the very best outcome. I also hope your relocation goes well and that you will be happy there.

    • Sorry to hear you’re leaving Andy and with what seems like a bitter taste in your mouth. I too have experienced the worst of Oman, coming on holiday a few years ago I loved the place and really did buy into the whole ‘paradise on earth’ facade. A few years down the line now, I have realised meeting my Omani husband was probably the best thing to come of the country I once fell so in love with. I’m sorry to say that the whole ‘Omani’s are humble and hospitable’ malarkey is just a load of BS. Yes sure when you first meet them, to your face they would be warm and welcoming until you get to know the real person. Sorry to stereotype a whole nation but it hasn’t happened on just the one/two occasions. They are very two faced, they give off the impression they are really nice in front of an audience until you hear they are talking behind your back, calling you every name under the sun and when confronting them they completely demonise you. I am ethnically the same as my husband but I was born and brought up abroad. (I think this factors to why I am targeted) I don’t wear an abaya or a scarf on my head and I am targeted by Omani women in particular when my I am walking with my husband – who is quite often in a dishdasha. I dress modestly, am completely covered but wearing western clothes as I have always done – I am on the recieving end of the dirtiest looks, the rolling of the eyes, the stares – as if I am a prostitute walking with my own husband. It has got so bad in recent years, that my husband notices and tends to joke about it because he knows it really bothers me. I absolutely hate this and have hated this since day one. This continues I might add after having a family. Omani’s claim to be understanding about the way a person dresses and boast abt having the freedom to not wear an abaya – but if you are standing next to an Omani man in a dishdasha without one, they make you feel like a piece of s*?!. I have felt so alienated over the years, that I most recently gave up my fight to be who I was brought up to be and dress how I wanted. I now wear an abaya when out with my husband (when he wears a dishdasha). Getting back to the point, this is my experience of Oman and a country where you are looked down on if you are not Omani (no matter how many years you have lived here) and most certainly if you happen to married to one. A beautiful country that is ruined by it’s people.
      Good luck in everything you set out to do.. your posts will most definitely be missed. You are so very lucky to get out of here!

    • Sorry to hear you’re leaving Andy and with what seems like a bitter taste in your mouth. I too have experienced the worst of Oman, coming on holiday a few years ago I loved the place and really did buy into the whole ‘paradise on earth’ facade. A few years down the line now, I have realised meeting my Omani husband was probably the best thing to come of the country I once fell so in love with. I’m sorry to say that the whole ‘Omani’s are humble and hospitable’ malarkey is just a load of BS. Yes sure when you first meet them, to your face they would be warm and welcoming until you get to know the real person. Sorry to stereotype a whole nation but it hasn’t happened on just the one/two occasions. They are very two faced, they give off the impression they are really nice in front of an audience until you hear they are talking behind your back, calling you every name under the sun and when confronting them they completely demonise you. I am ethnically the same as my husband but I was born and brought up abroad. (I think this factors to why I am targeted) I don’t wear an abaya or a scarf on my head and I am targeted by Omani women in particular when my I am walking with my husband – who is quite often in a dishdasha. I dress modestly, am completely covered but wearing western clothes as I have always done – I am on the recieving end of the dirtiest looks, the rolling of the eyes, the stares – as if I am a prostitute walking with my own husband. It has got so bad in recent years, that my husband notices and tends to joke about it because he knows it really bothers me. I absolutely hate this and have hated this since day one. This continues I might add after having a family. Omani’s claim to be understanding about the way a person dresses and boast abt having the freedom to not wear an abaya – but if you are standing next to an Omani man in a dishdasha without one, they make you feel like a piece of s*?!. I have felt so alienated over the years, that I most recently gave up my fight to be who I was brought up to be and dress how I wanted. I now wear an abaya when out with my husband (when he wears a dishdasha). Getting back to the point, this is my experience of Oman and a country where you are looked down on if you are not Omani (no matter how many years you have lived here) and mlst certainly if you happen to be married to one. A beautiful country that is ruined by its people.
      Good luck in everything you set out to do.. your posts will most definitely be missed. You are so very lucky to get out of here!

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