The majority (59 per cent) of the over 650,000 foreigners come from India and are employed in commerce, construction and the service industries. The remainder of the army of guest workers come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.
The conception and planning of the reconstruction, on the other hand, was firmly in European hands. Around two thirds of the over 3000 European experts in the country come from Great Britain. The well-paid experts have to give 10 per cent of their salaries towards financing the Omani education system. If originally there were too few qualified native workers, the situation has changed radically within the last twenty years. The population exploded from an estimated 650,000 inhabitants in 1970 to over 1.5 million at the end of 1993. In 2003 2,538,000 people were counted, of whom 668,000 (26 per cent) were foreigners, most of them being guest workers. In the Muscat region the proportion, at 47 per cent, was significantly higher, whereas on the Batinah coast it was only 15 per cent. To compare: in the United Arab Emirates less than 20 per cent of the workforce are natives; in Germany, with its fear of being overwhelmed by foreigners, over 95 percent of the total population are German citizens.
Meanwhile all young Omanis have access in at last some areas to a very good education, and their wages are thus markedly higher than those of Asians, who for many years have occupied many of the available posts, above all in commerce.
Excerpt from OMAN (www.oman.de) - the travel guide by Georg Popp, Arabia Felix Synform GmbH