Living in Oman
Situated to the southeastern tip of Arabian Peninsula, Oman is one of the most progressive countries in the Gulf. About a quarter of Oman’s population are expats who have moved here mainly for work. The expat population is mainly British, American, Canadian, South African nationals.
Just like the West, the cities of Oman have a lot of restaurants, shopping malls, bars, theaters etc. Outside the city there are rural areas which are less westernized. But here too, there are a lot of expats. Other than experiencing a cosmopolitan environment, expats may even notice that the people of Oman are friendly and helpful. People here are also quite open minded when it comes to women's rights, especially as compared to other Gulf countries.
Oman is also one of the safest country in the Gulf region. Contrary to the image portrayed by media about the middle east, Oman is a very peaceful country. The crime rate in the country is also very low and people can safely walk on the streets even at midnight.
Politics in Oman
Oman is an Arab absolute monarchy. There are no political parties in Oman and there can be no directly elected representatives. Although, in 1991 the sultan established a 59 seat consultative council known as Majlis Ash-Shura a consultative body for which the Sultan selects the council members. Nevertheless, the sultan has the ultimate power and can appoint or fire all council ministers as well as the ministers in the defence department, the department of foreign affairs and department of finance.
The legal system of Oman is based on both English common law and Islamic law.
Economy of Oman
Oman was once a transit port for arms and slaves which declined in the mid of 19th century. Later, the country’s economy for a long was dependent on oil and gas during which Oman made a remarkable development. However, Oman has realized that the oil and gas would eventually run out and they’ve started developing other industries such as trade and tourism. In recent years Oman saw a downfall in economic growth due to low investment in oil sector. The country’s deficit too remains high at this point due to low oil prices but with predicted increase in oil prices and expansion of non-oil economy Oman’s economy is expected to improve.
Buying or Renting property in Oman
Foreigners and expats were not allowed to buy property in Oman until recently, but today things have changed and the government of Oman allows foreigners and expats to own property for themselves under certain criteria. They are restricted to freehold properties and tourist complexes. When they buy a property they have to pay 3% registration fee, a small application fee and also a stamp duty tax. While buying property they should also look for legal advice for the smooth completion of the process.
Although buying properties is an option, expats mostly prefer to rent them.
Rental agreement is usually made for a year and the lease is negotiable. A two month deposit can be paid in advance to book an apartment or a villa. After booking, a two month rent also has to be paid upfront. Looking for property isn’t much of a hassle. You can look for properties online or even hire an estate agent.
Visa and Immigration
Schools in Oman
Recently due to considerable investments made by the Omani government in education the standard of schooling in Oman has become quite high. There are both private and public schools in Oman. Public schooling is free of charge till the higher secondary level but they mostly cater only to Omani nationals as they teach in Arabic language and has a Islamic curriculum. Most of expat parents send their children to private international schools as they cater to a variety of nationalities. These schools have high quality of education with latest modern facilities. This is why the fees of this school are high. These schools are also co-educational as opposed to public schools.
Weather in Oman
The climate of Oman is generally hot. It experiences summers from May to August when temperatures can go as high as 45 °C. Muscat the capital of Oman also gets really hot in spite of it being on the coastal area. Winters in Oman last from December to March when the temperatures fluctuates from 13 °C to 25 °C. It also rains in Oman throughout the year but this rainfall is very low. Only from June to September in the Salalah in Dhofar region the rainfall is heavy which transforms the place into lush green oasis. People can can also spot waterfalls here during this time.
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