Gulf worker returns home after ‘Oman’isation of jobs

By   |  Published: 2nd Sep 2020  12:41 am

Jeddah: The combined shock of collapsing oil prices and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in addition to the job localisation drive in some Gulf countries is costing foreign workers, a majority of them are Indian expats, their jobs.

For many, the prospects are fading though with time and some are not able to digest the fact that they have to leave their second home.

When Rita Samuel, a 47-year-old sales executive who lived in Muscat, Oman, bid adieu to the country, she was in tears as she was in the Gulf nation for 25 years. Rita, yet to come to terms with reality, returned home on Tuesday by a special chartered flight.

Rita, hailing from Marredpally in Secunderabad, had to come to Oman at a young age to support her family. She lost her job in a primary educational institution in the capital recently, along with some hundreds of other Indians, following the implementation of the government policy to have only Omani nationals placed in educational institutions.

The ‘Omanisation’ drive reached its peak with the government working hard to provide jobs to native unemployed youth amid the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic and oil prices plunging.

Like other neighbouring nations in the Gulf, Oman also relies on foreign workers, mainly from India. However, the country is gradually reducing its dependence on expatriates. Native Omani youth who graduated started replacing foreign employees like Rita.

Rita says she herself trained five Omani youths who can replace her later. Late Ruler Sultan Qaboos invested hugely on education and provided stipends to Omani youth to learn.

“I have spent over half of my life in Oman,” Rita, who came to Oman in 1996, tells Telangana Today over the phone. I have met hundreds of people from different nationalities, and I am returning with the wealth-of-life experiences and friendships, she adds.

Once active in social causes, Rita, also commonly known as the “Help Line Madam”, helped scores of Telangana and other State NRI workers over two decades. She was awarded Pride of Muscat by a local media house. Her house was a shelter home for many destitute and stranded Telugu women.

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