Here in Oman, most colleagues in my position or above are Europeans or locals. Initially, I felt lucky to be in meetings with them, but I was also acutely aware of my language limitations. It is by overcoming such challenges that I have been able to grow and get ahead in my career.
I am aware that my work and experience is different from other Nepali migrant workers in the region. Around 60% of the employees in my hotel are locals who work in various departments. This is not what I hear from colleagues elsewhere in the Gulf, where there are very few residents working, and most are expatriates.
This trend is expected to grow with the Oman government’s policy to prioritise local hires. Many expat jobs in West Asia are at risk because of localisation priorities of governments, and Oman in particular.
This uncertainty is one of the reasons I sent my family back to Nepal, so that the children’s education is not affected in case something happened. It was nice to have my family around, though. My son was born in Oman.
It is good to see that Nepalis are increasingly taking up more supervisory roles in the Gulf. There is more skilled migration in the medical field, engineering and management of the retail sector. However, it is very difficult for companies which want to directly hire Nepalis to do so because of the Nepal government’s restrictive and bureaucratic policies.
Employers like mine therefore are reluctant to hire directly for non-bulk hire positions like chefs from Nepal because it is not worth the effort and headache when the same position can be filled much easily by Indians and Filipinos. The Nepali authorities must seriously reconsider this.