- Oman is one of the oldest human – inhabited places on earth going back about 106 000 years
- Oman was colonized by the Portuguese until local tribesman drove them out in 1650
- Mountain Dew is the top selling beverage in Oman
- Crime in Oman is extremely rare
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- Visas are not easy to obtain due to a policy of “Omanitization” in the country, where the government will in each case check to see if positions can be filled by Omanis rather than expatriates.
- The Omanis are part of the work force in Oman, unlike other GCC countries, in Oman your local taxi driver will be an Omani and they are extremely friendly and willing to help and guide you.
An Overview of Oman
Located in the south eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s time zone is GMT+4. Oman shares its borders with Yemen to the south and Saudi Arabia to the west.
Muscat is the capital of Oman, a lovely city situated in the mountains and on the coast. It is strategically placed at the mouth of the Gulf at south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula and, in the 19th century, vied with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.
The population of Oman is approximately 3.2 million, of which about 700,000 are expatriates. The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken.
The country has so far been spared the militant Islamist violence that has plagued some of its neighbors.
Living in Oman
Camping is a much loved weekend activity by most expats. Choose any of the many interesting destinations within the country – and find your own spot to pitch a tent, sleep in the back of a 4WD or just fling a mattress on the ground and sleep under the stars. In the mountains or desert you can set up camp wherever you find a suitable spot, as long as it isn’t on private or cultivated land and not too close to habitation. If you are not too sure about camping ‘in the rough’, there are also official camping grounds with full amenities.
Oman is one of the more liberal and peaceful locations in the middle east and this, together with the relatively low cost of living and very low crime rate, make it a very popular expatriate location. Oman is a country rich in culture and natural beauty with a pleasant climate most of the year.
Housing in Oman
The critical thing is to establish in whose name the property is going to be leased. More companies are moving towards a ‘clean package’ option where employees are given the money in order that they can chose how they spend their allowance. In cases such as this, the tenancy would be in the name of the employee.
If the employee is paying the rent, there are several options:
- Pay twelve months in advance with one cheque or bank transfer to either the landlord or the leasing agent as agreed.
- One cheque for three months’ rent and three subsequent postdated cheques for each quarter.
One cheque for six months’ rent and a subsequent postdated cheque for the final six months
Some landlords prefer cheques but the cheques will need to come from a locally held bank account. Individual landlords seldom hand out their bank details. The agency fee is normally paid by the landlord.
If the property is leased in the name of the employee, the employee is responsible for that lease and therefore the payments even if the contract with their employer is terminated.
If the lease is in the employer’s name and the employer is paying, it is normal to pay annually or biannually in advance. Some landlords may require a deposit to ensure the property is returned in the same condition as it is let.
Paying a deposit is a new practice in Oman and is not required in every case. However as long as the house is returned clean and in the same or better condition the chances of getting a full refund will be increased. Recovering deposits from some landlords may be challenging, particularly because it is likely that as soon as you move out, you will be leaving Oman.
Schooling in Oman
The international schools in Oman are of a high standard however places are limited and it is essential to apply well in advance of arriving in Oman. The first step is to narrow down your choice by determining which schools cater to your specific educational syllabus, language or culture. It is also a good idea to visit a few schools before making a decision, which can be covered by the relocation consultant during a look-see trip.
Some of the top schools operate a waiting list so be aware that you may not be able to get your child into your first choice. You may also have to pay a fee to be registered on the waiting list; the fee is not always refundable.