Oman is in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The Sultanate is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the north and northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast.
The local currency is the Omani Rial (OMR), which is pegged to the U.S dollar. Typically one Rial is worth around USD$2.60.
Oman is an absolute monarchy in which all legislative, executive, and judiciary power ultimately rests in the hands of the hereditary Sultan, currently H.H Qaboos bin Said al Said.
Oman’s population is approximately 4.2 million people, with around 40% of that number comprised of expatriates. It is estimated that 50% of the national population live in the capital city of Muscat.
In 2014, the Omani government announced plans to reduce the expatriate work force to 33% of its total population as part of its ‘Omanisation’ stimulus programme.
Alcohol is available in select restaurants and large hotels. Foreign, non-Muslim residents are allowed to buy and consume alcohol within their private residences providing they obtain an alcohol license from the authorities.
Women are not required to wear a veil by law, however it is common to see women wearing abajas, hijabs, niqabs and occasionally burkas. While women are free to wear what they like, it is recommended to dress conservatively when going out in public as a sign of respect towards local Islamic culture.
Yes, providing they have a valid driver’s license from their country of origin, which is acknowledged by the Omani authorities.
As the public school system in Oman caters solely for Omani children, expatriates are required to find private schooling for their children. While there are a wide range of international schools, which cater for American, British, Indian, French, German and Japanese curriculums, demand for international education is high and therefore places are competitive.
Higher education is available in Oman although the system is still very young and is still in the process of being recognized as world class.
Oman has a subtropical dry desert climate with low annual rainfall. During the summer months temperatures can easily reach in excess of 40 degrees. Oman is also home to the semi tropical microclimate of the Dhofar province, which can offer cooler temperatures during the summer.
Arabic is not required in order to live as an expatriate in Oman. Everything from road signs to restaurant menus are in Arabic and English. English is widely spoken by both locals and expats, although should you wish to learn Arabic, living in Oman will represent an excellent opportunity to do so.
All major credit cards and online banking facilities are widely available across Oman. In order to open a local bank account you will have to complete your residency visa before applying. You will also require a ‘No objection certificate’ from your new employer, in order to confirm your source of income, and regular salary amount. In some cases the bank will request to see your tenancy agreement as a proof of address, although this varies from bank to bank.
Oman offers a wide variety of things to do and see, particularly for those of you who enjoy the great outdoors. From stunning mountain ranges through to fjords and wadis, Oman’s varied landscape is nothing short of spectacular. For the adventurous amongst you, activities such as mountain climbing, surfing and diving are in abundance, and for those of you who prefer to relax and unwind, Oman has an extensive list of five star luxury hotels which provide pool side service and spa therapies as part of their offering.
For a more traditional take on Oman’s heritage, there are a number of souks, museums and landmarks including the Old Muttrah Souk, Bait Al Zubair and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Fine dining is widely available throughout Oman and for those who want to enjoy a little more international culture, Oman’s Royal Opera House frequently hosts some of the most talented musicians from around the world.
Both females and males have interesting career prospects in Oman. In general, hard work and commitment is rewarded very well. The international work environment provides plenty of opportunities, both for professional and personal development.
Once your job offer has been confirmed, ensuring your personal administration is in order will help greatly, for example ensuring your passport has enough spare pages and that it has a minimum of six months validity left. Make sure you get as much information about lifestyle and practicalities as you can – there are many sources online and in print. Other than that, many services or products can be found in the country.