Monday, June 08, 2015
16

Some time ago, I met a man who has been living here in the Sultanate, since the 70's - he was here during the Dhofar insurgency and I guess just never left. I found it quite interesting talking to this person and his observations on how things had changed over the years and it got me to wondering..... how long do most expatriates stay here before moving on?

I imagine there are a few different categories of us Expats (sorry if you are an Omani reading this):

1/ The Contract worker. These are people who are rotated into positions here in the country and then move on after contract has been completed. I guess PDO (Shell) employees  & military types are the best example of this, although there are many others of course.

2/ The ones that can't cut it. You know the ones I mean, they just can't adapt and end up quitting and leaving as soon as they can. Usually big fans of watching Sky News etc. they can't let go of "home" and usually whinge and moan just that little bit more than the rest of us.

3/ The expat brats. The kids of parents who have grown up here and subsequently found jobs. I don't mean that they're actually brats, it's just a phrase. I've met quite a few and they're all nice people.

4/ The camels. Expats that have been here for years and years and have no intentions on leaving any time soon.

Obviously, if you are Omani, then you're in your own category, but I've found it's quite common for foreign educated Omani's to come home for a while, and then want to leave again, for whatever reasons they have.

Oman, for me, is my second country to live in as an expatriate. I have found life here a mixture of highs and lows, but the highs so far outweigh the lows! I've found that some friendships form and become very strong - I can put my hand on my heart and say that there are some people I've befriended here who I will know for the rest of my life. But as is always the case with this life that I have chosen, friends come and go.

After my first couple of years here, I realised that life here is very transient, we could have to leave at any time, for a number of reasons. Whether you've lived here for 30 years, 1 year or 1 month - you really have no options to stay if you're told you have to go. So I got used to the constant threat of having to move on, you just do right? But as I mentioned above - every now and then you meet some people who you get along with very well. And then one day, the inevitable call/text/email comes: Want to buy my car mate? We're moving to xxx.

It got me to thinking... How long is the average expats stay here in Oman? Is it mostly 2 years? Or 4? When I first moved here, I'd meet a lot of people, all the time, because I was out a lot more than I am now, and most people would be under 5 years, every now and then you'd find someone who was here more than 5 years, and once in a while you'd come across a 10+ year veteran.

So, because I continue to pay those people at Survey Monkey money every month, I have setup a little questionnaire to see just how long you have lived here in Oman. If you're reading this and you don't live in Oman anymore, just put the length of time that you did live here for, or if you're reading this and you're planning to move... select that option. And of course, if you're Omani I've made a special option just for you nice people too :)

Create your own user feedback survey

I'll share the results soon!

le fin.




16 comments:

FatSu said...

Veteran camel. True, but not a very flattering category name.

Anonymous said...

Have been here for 24 years. Leaving in a couple of months, got a new job in a new country. When a country tells you often enough it doesn't want you there you can't help but listen!
Mas Salamah!!

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat, I have been here over 6 years. My OH cannot change job as she cannot get an NOC. So we are also off. I am sure Oman will be crying out for expertise in a few years but will probably blame the expats still there on their woes.
Head in the sand stuff here.

Anonymous said...


I believe this theory and found to be true mostly among those I know..anybody who wants to renew his visa for the first time after two years is going to stay here for long...

Expat Brat said...

Lived all my life in Oman! Did my schooling and my college here and now working here as well.

Father got his nationality. Unfortunately, None of the other family members got the red passport.

My friends from other countries usually have this shocked expression when i tell them of our situation.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 8th year here and I love it howere I chose to leave a good job for personal reasons and have a 6 month break from work fully expecting to go back with no issues. Unfortunately during this time the ban on female visas in certain positions came in and I haven't been able to work since early 2014.
I would love to stay here longer, my husband has a very secure job but if I am not able to work soon I can see us leaving. 😞

Anonymous said...

7 years and Husbands contract just renewed for a further 4 years ! Inshallah . The children they want to stay forever if they can !

Anonymous said...

Almost 8! It's funny the name of The Carmel Hahaha. Chress

egandhi said...

Been here for 2 years and just renewed my visa, I love the country and its beautiful people, however I seem to be a cross between a camel and a contract worker. Hubby has a business here that is getting tougher day by day due to the visa regulations and may have to shut shop and go over to Dubai, I land of opportunities where expats are always welcome. Great post Mr. Sythe!

Inrab70 said...

Great post Mr. Sythe. Im a fusion of category 3 and 4(i guess). Been here for all but 4 years my life(29 years). Do not know much about my country of origin exept for the 4 years that i was sent to study there to get an understanding of how and why we function the way we do. My folks have been here for over 35 years. Kind of sad that they do not have a clearcut policy with regards to obtaining citizenship. Although im not sure if the citizenship is that appealing to expats of the camel category anymore.
Great posts as always and thanks for doing them.
Cheers!!

Anonymous said...

I, along with some of my good friends, am an expat brat, and there's more to it. We tend to somehow bounce back to Oman wherever we try to go to set up base. By now, I'm guessing that our hearts say, this is home...
But, on a very personal note, I would like to mention my current state of mind. You have mentioned a category of citizens towards the end of the article, who are looking for ways to shift base asap. It saddens me to confess that I also belong to that category (if you might consider making that a new category alltogether). No offence, and we totally understand the priority that must definitely be given to the nationals of any country, May it be in education, employment or the like. But, the obvious misunderstandings and/or sudden turn of affairs for (obviously) the worst for most of us expats, have made many of us lose our in-built confidence about the overall economy and mostly, our sense of security in many aspects. It truly is disheartening. But again, as is the scenario in your country, my country or any other country, Omanis must be given priority on their own land. I have never personally crossed paths with any expatriate in the country having any ill feelings towards any national. On an entirety, I would always tag the nationals of Oman are undoubtedly one of the most generous and kindest in the world.
Cheers! :)

Maverick Heart said...

Loved the name Expat Brat & Camel..since Im bit of both, I find your article so apt. For us who has lived here long enough, you can take us out of Oman but you cant take Oman out of us. We keep coming back to this place which along with being rich in heritage & culture, keeps us grounded.
Its going to be a long long time that I would ever move out of this people. Hope the curre t situations for the expat community with all the rules and regulations towards them improves. Its a beautiful placr

Maverick Heart said...

Loved the name Expat Brat & Camel..since Im bit of both, I find your article so apt. For us who has lived here long enough, you can take us out of Oman but you cant take Oman out of us. We keep coming back to this place which along with being rich in heritage & culture, keeps us grounded.
Its going to be a long long time that I would ever move out of this people. Hope the current situations for the expat community with all the rules and regulations towards them improves. Its a beautiful place.

Hunaid said...

Wow i am mix between a expat brat a camel and somewhere in between. I love oman and have done 2 stints here of over 10 years each 1985 - 1996 and 2004 - current. One as a kid growing up and going to school and now as a business owner.

They have been 2 different eras and i cant say one is better than the other. But the way things are going its tough to be an expat business owner investing in Oman and seeing a long term goal. All i can say is teh counry is blessed to have a great ruler in HM Sultan qaboos and i pray his reign is long and prosperous.

Its a country i love and for themost part has very friendly, helpful, welcoming people. Yes times have changed and the above statement may not apply to all people. But i beleive for any country to grow and develop they need to have their nationals step up and this has to happen at all levels in a controlled manner.

Anonymous said...

I'm a foreigner with my own company here. I fell in love with Oman in 2008 and decided to make my home here. But now the atmosphere has changed. The warmth, generosity and hospitality are long gone. I am constantly reminded by casual remarks and little digs that expats are no longer welcome--by my own Omani friends! (Obviously they say it doesn't apply to me! Ha!)

And I don't really understand why Oman says it wants foreign investment when this clearly isn't the case. I have a small company, and it runs, but there is no question of expanding or growing in any way. It's simply not possible to successfully run a small business (with inventory and customer service) here, period. I've been blocked at every turn. And I do still have (after 20 years) a successful business in my native city--a city that is known to be competitive and difficult. So it's not that I'm clueless.

Ok people, looks like you are going to get your wish.
Plenty of us are now leaving--me too.
Oman is in my eyes and my heart, but no way I would stay where I'm not wanted.
My Omani friends can come visit me in my own country.

I'm sure Oman will make a much better country without all the expats.
I hear we are the cause of all your problems. No doubt!

Good luck to you.

Amna said...

I assumed the survey link would be up on this page but I can't find it? Am I missing something because I am browsing on my phone?

Popular Posts