Living in Oman expat guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Living in Oman is one of the coolest locations for an expat in the Middle East. It is capital city Muscat is popular for fresh and dazzling seafood, great trade activities, and oases irrigation systems. Oman houses the third largest yacht in the world owned by the Sultan and the people of the country are highly collected and hospitable folks.
Oman has the official name “Sultanate of Oman” and holds an age-long history of being the oldest state with independence in the Arabian world. Oman is not just a beautiful country because the landscape has a wide expanse of charming coastline; the cost of living is less costly in comparison to countries like Dubai, or Qatar.
Moving to a new country is an incredible choice. One of the most important things to do as a potential expat seeking to live in a region is to find out more about the region from the right source. If you’re seeking to move to Oman, we particularly understand what it entails and this section describes this in detail.
Look no further because, in the entire section of this article, we will painstakingly describe some vital information about Oman. Read along to understand some of the intriguing facts about this county, understand why Oman is the calm country to move to, and know ways of making your emigration smoother than you felt possible.
Incredible Facts about Living in Oman
Oman seems to be a mystery to those who have not been in the country. However, there is nothing mysterious about the country. From some part of the capital city of Muscat built on a mountain overlooking the ocean to the sultanate political system of the country, the very best ship making in the world, and an excellent rate of development from various factors including world-leading oil production; Oman is incredible. Below are the pros and cons associated with living in Oman.
The crime rate in Oman is extremely low that violent crimes like rapes, assaults, and murder are difficult to come across. According to the macro-trends crime stats, Oman’s crime rate declined by 47.67 percent from 2017 to 2018 where it was stood at 0.27 per 100,000 people in 2018. Common crimes are almost always petty in nature and the traditional setting of the communities is conducive for raising a family. The polite and friendly locals are folks to live with.
One of the easy ways to enjoy your stay and boost your career is to network. Maybe you love meeting people, making friends and you’re in deep thoughts about networking in Oman. The cities of Oman are not quite big, so networking is easy, and meeting people is fun. Moreover, more foreigners are moving to Oman now and you just might be lucky to find someone from far back home.
The scenic beauty of Oman outclasses that of many other countries. From the astounding sandy beaches to the spectacular desert plains, the views are breathtaking. Of increasing interest to expats is the Omani wildlife with whale sharks and turtles of about five species. Green turtles are becoming endangered are can be found migrating to Omani beaches. From just strolling and sightseeing, you can never get bored.
Every good-looking city turns out good from little excellent features that sum up into a big whole. The secret to the great cities of Omani is not only in the good street structure and city layout but in the picturesque forts, castles, palaces, and buildings. In Oman almost every door is uniquely ornamented and decorated, the house’s scent of Frankincense and the stately architecture of the city is a must-see.
Middle East countries, particularly in Oman and its capital city Muscat, there’s an increasing wave of technological start-ups and this is a great sphere to invest in. The transport start-ups like taxi services, food delivery, mobile grocery store, and e-commerce as receiving huge boosts than ever. Asides from the white-collared job opportunities in Oman, diverse businesses exist including facility maintenance companies, commodity stores, event management among others.
But if you’re conservative about trying out businesses, the restaurant business is a safe bet. Firstly, you should have some basic inclinations to the business and spent some time getting accustomed to the local delicacies. This does not mean you can only create food for the locals, but an understanding of the most consumed meals is essential to introducing your personal touch. Otherwise, you can decide to make foreign meals only and this will not go wrong because of the increasing foreign population.
Tourism and Travel Business.
Tourism is becoming a great deal than ever and the Omani government is taking significant strides to progress the tourism and travel industry. To join this flourishing and lucrative sector, one would obtain a tourism conductor license, rent an office, and pay for interior furnishing costs. Finally, one would hire employees for the tourism business and pay for their services. It is easy and worth the effort because of the growth potential of the sector.
The presence of real estate agencies, employment and relocation companies have made accommodation easy. Accommodation is particularly easier if you are arriving in Oman on a full job package as the company can either provide some allowance on rent or liaise with landlords. More importantly, because cities in Oman are not as big, it is possible to get housing away from the center of the city. In forty minutes, you can drive from one end of Muscat to the other end. These days, foreigners now have the legal backing to purchase property at some Oman locations. With purchasing a property comes the chance of renting out the property.
Good private Healthcare
There is the availability of quality healthcare in Oman with a high standard of performance in both the private and public sectors. As found in other countries, private healthcare is preferable in Oman because the waiting time is shorter and there is English-speaking staff with better facilities. What an expat needs to do is simply to obtain health insurance and enjoy the quality healthcare already in place. Your health insurance should include all of your health necessities like emergency, dental, mental, and general medical costs.
Cost of Living
The cost of one’s living is dependent on lifestyle. Despite this, living in common is relatively cheaper in comparison with living in Qatar or Dubai. Unlike in Qatar where living cost is rising higher these years, the price of feeding, utility bills, and housing is lower in Oman. Just like other Arabian countries, Oman is a major oil-producing country and the cost of fueling is consequently cheap.
CONS of Living in Oman
There is no place you will love to migrate to in the world that is without its free share of cons. This is the same for Oman. Asides from the picturesque scenery, good private healthcare, easy accommodation, and other niceties, Oman has its disadvantages. This expat guide has revealed the cons to take note of.
International schools in Oman are fond of employing teachers who are trained in the language relating to the curriculum. The nursery schools are of a wide variety and although the quality of education in Oman is quite high with cool facilities and excellent extra-curricular activities, the fees are quite costly. As such, checking different schools for your kid might be the means of getting the schooling that you can pay for.
Oman is even more liberal in comparison with other Arabian countries. Notwithstanding, it is still an Islamic state. As such, going against the cultural norms or disrespecting the customs would be wrong. An expat has the responsibility of acting in line with the not-so-strict norms. For instance, a woman is expected to wear shoulder-protecting clothing in places like the mall and other public spaces.
High rate of accidents
There is a higher rate of road accidents on public roads in Oman because the drivers are a little more reckless with their driving. As far back as 2016 when there were fewer vehicles, there were 8.89 road accidents per 100,000 of Oman population. This brings the necessity of driving painstakingly whilst being following traffic rules and being vigilant.
Strict Regulations on Work Permit
Without your employer sponsoring you to work in Oman, you won’t get a permit to work. This means, even after leaving your resident country you still need to maintain ties with your employer. You need a “No Objection Certificate” to change your job which you may not get if you lost connection with your employer. Interestingly, 2021 changes to regulations are beginning to minimize the work restrictions and there may no longer be a need for the “No Objection Certificate”.
Hierarchical Structure of Business
As previously highlighted, it is vital to respect the cultural norms prevalent in Oman. The Muslim structure of the society and the echelon of how daily decisions rest on top Omanis officials, your cultural approach to business may not be acceptable. Meanwhile, Omani cities are still quickly developing and an increasing population of expat would gradually re-orient business.
It’s a heat like one has never worn before. Its dry, in the middle of summer, it gets to over 50 degree Celsius
Getting to Know Oman
Oman has existed as a distinct state for thousands of years. The Sultanate of Oman adoption has only been for few centuries. Even though Oman holds significant cultural diversity, the majority of Omanis consist of Arabs. In 2019, the population of Oman was estimated at 4.975 million.
The Omanis are identified through the use of various regional names. Southern Omanis use the Dhofari, those closely linked with East Africa bear the Zanzibari which was formerly called Zanzibar.
Dhofari people of Oman
The Dhofar folks have a governorate. The Dhofar Governorate is just one of the 11 governorates of the Sultanate of Oman. Dhofar lies in the southern region of Oman and is the historical source of frankincense.
Zanzibari people of Oman
The Zanzibari people came from the East African trading empire which fell in the 19th century while the British dominated. The British stopped dominating about the mid-20th century. Zanzibar became an independent sultanate when it got separated from Oman and Muscat in 186. These folks and the historical proximity has continued to ensure a cultural admixture with Oman.
Other Omanis include
The Balochis people of Oman
The Lurs people of Oman
The Lawatis people of Oman
The Swahili people of Oman
The Mehri people of Oman
Public/National Holidays in Oman
At the provincial level, Oman observes about 9 national holidays. The national holidays in Oman include the following:
New Year’s Holiday – 01 January 2021
Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension) – 11 March 2021
Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) – 13 May 2021 to 15 May 2021
Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) – 20 July 2021 to 23 July 2021
Renaissance Day – 23 July 2021
Islamic New Year – 10 August 2021
National Day – 18 November 2021
Birthday of HM Sultan Qaboos -18 November 2021
Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) – 19 October 2021
Culture, Social Etiquette and How Omanis Treat People
Not only are Omanis cheerful people, but they also hold an adorable formality in public. Before discussions and even after meeting people, there must be culturally determined greetings. To not act by these formulaic greetings would make one rude. Also, while it is permitted for men and women to interact, their interaction and contact must be done in public. In general, women are usually chaperoned in public by a relative and this is irrespective of the social status of the woman.
Public events where women are chaperoned include receptions, parties, etc. It is acceptable for same-sex friends or relatives to hold hands in public and common for people to stand close to one another as found with Arabs. Omanis are polite and the women ensure that other groups of women get through a door before them while the men let women in first. Lacking in the Omanis culture is the western behavior of forming lines at malls, shops, and other public spaces. Traveling long distances in public transport may not be as commonplace as some expat are used to and traveling in a car might be the best means for exploration.
About every Omani is a Muslim with a larger proportion of Ibadis and Sunnis and a smaller Shia percentage. Omanis take care to perform their religious obligations. These obligations include praying five times daily with many men going to a close mosque for the prayers. During the holy month of Ramadan, it is wrong to drink, eat or smoke during daylight hours in public spaces and the Omanis adhere to these rules. Other folk rituals and superstitions are likewise practiced like the official and formal religion. The Omani appoints a mufti who is the highest Islamic authority of the country.
What Omanis Eat and Drink
The restaurants and cuisine of Omani have a large place for rice. Morning food is not as important because it is often a sum of leftover food and tea. But from early to mid-afternoon, the major meal of the day is served which consists of a large rice dish and a thin tomato paste either with meat or fish or not. Muslims do not eat pork. Hence, pork is prohibited in their diet. An evening meal is light and can sometimes be bread and tea or fruits. A range of Indian delicacies is found in Indian restaurants around Oman. Several other restaurants are available including Chinese, French, Japanese, and Italian restaurants.
For occasions and ceremonies, dried or fresh dates form part of an important diet that signals hospitality. Different coffee varieties like bitter, strong, and cardamom-scented are usually served to guests. While breaking Ramadan fast, coffee and dates are taken first before the family ritual meal. The ritual meal is a combination of oil-heavy and spiced meals. Few traditional dishes to taste in Oman include Omani bread, Majboos, Shuwa, dates, Kahwa, Halwa, and Meshkak.
Key Facts Every Expat Should Know
If you’re seeking to relocate to Oman, it is cool to learn about some of the key facts of the country that expats should know. A basic understanding of the location of Oman is necessary.
Oman is located in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula of Western Asia, about the Persian Gulf at a position of strategic importance. The country has a total area of 309,500 km2, country folks spend the Omani rial (OMR) and +968 is the calling code of the country. Omani is not just the oldest Arabian independent state, terrorism-free and full architectural beauty; other basic facts about the country are further discussed.
The national animal of Oman is the Arabian Oryx with the first Oman university as the Sultan Qaboos University.
Omanis have the world’s third-biggest ships and have the greatest shipbuilders.
The finest horses in Arab are quite easily in Oman since the country is among the best horse breeding countries.
Five sites of UNESCO world heritages are found in Oman. They are the Ancient City of Qalhat, Land of Frankincense, Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman, Archaeological sites of Al-Ayn, Bat, and Al-Khutm with the Bahla Fort.
Naturally, Frankincense trees grow in Oman. The national beverage is coffee and without a license, you cannot buy alcohol in Oman.
The coastal area of Oman looks over three water bodies. The three water bodies are the Sea of Oman, the Arabian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.
The country has silver, copper, gold amidst others but exploration has been underdeveloped due to a greater preference for oil. The Omani has however been expanding the rate of mining in the country.
There are four deserts in Oman. With the Bawshar sands, you’ll have an amazing dune experience. The Wahiba Sands and the Empty Quarter which is the desert’s heart are also really beautiful as a sunset. The Ramlat Tawq is the fourth of the Oman deserts.
Traveling Within Oman and Its Environment
The internalization of Dubai has increased Oman’s world-scale prominence. Today, Oman is becoming an equally popular destination because of the need to explore a more traditional country or to get away from Dubai’s urban jungle. Moving to Oman, the first thought of traveling within Oman might be daunting for you but an understanding of the means of transportation would do.
Transportation by Air
With great air flight services in Oman, you can book your flight for a minimum of 2 weeks to get a great travel discount. In June, July, and August, a flight is considered costly with October considered the cheapest flight month. To travel from Muscat to Salalah, the cheapest round-trip costs as found on Salam Air and Oman Air were $138 and $168 respectively.
Transportation by Road (Car)
With traveling on the Omani road, using the public transport system may not be as effective as you want. Still, you can hire a 4WD car or a 2WD (saloon) car. The Omani Rial is about 1 OMR = $2.60. With the saloon car, you can make a daily budget of $70 for a couple and $130 with the 4WD car.
Transportation by Train
No passenger trains operate in Oman.
Oman Visa and Different Insurance Policies
You can actually within seven to eight working days and get a visa to Oman. The application process is quite easy and your return air tickets and pan card is also part of the requirements just as for many other countries.
The insurance companies in Oman are good and rated “An excellent” and are supported by a range of re-insurers including the Arig, Munich Re, Allianz. With traveling to Oman, your travel insurance can serve as coverage for a medical fee.
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