Thousands of migrant workers in Oman are booking one way tickets home as the Sultanate’s economic slump bites, travel agents and airlines say.
The dip in global oil prices leading to austerity measures and a lack of new-build projects in Oman has spurred one-way ticket sales as thousands of expatriate workers leave for good, Times of Oman has reported citing sources.
According to the daily, work camp bosses and mid-level officials of construction companies have confirmed that due to lack of projects, hundreds of workers are being sent back daily to their home countries.
“In my camp in Sohar, there were more than 800 workers. As the company is not getting any new projects, they all are being sent back in phases. Now, including me, only a dozen are left. It is quite hard to see this. I have also been given notice. Tough times,” the camp boss said, on condition of anonymity.
In the last six months, at least 5,000 workers have been sent back to their home countries by his firm, company officials confirmed.
The huge dip in the number of new projects
According to Shahswar Al Balushi, the Chief Executive Officer of Oman Society Contractors, there is huge dip in the number of new projects in Oman due to oil price dip and this has led to retrenchment of workers.
A trade union leader confirmed that until the end of 2015, they have come across many cases of workers being left high and dry.
Travel agents confirmed that more people are buying a one way ticket home instead of return tickets for their travel.
“On some flights we are seeing around 50 people travelling with a one way ticket,” confirmed Deepal Pallegangoda, Country Manager Oman, Mihin Lanka.
He attributed this to job losses in Oman and labourers not buying return tickets when they are heading for annual holidays.
“Only white-collar workers are buying return tickets,” Pallegangoda told Times of Oman.
A spokesperson for Air India also confirmed that “one-way travel” has gone up in recent months.