Oman has taken giant steps over the last thirty or so years toward becoming a thoroughly modernised, cosmopolitan state – in fact, in 2010 the United Nations Development Programme singled out Oman (from 135 countries) as the world’s most-improved country over the last 40 years. (

Since a large part of Oman consists of desert, the population is relatively small, with a distinct trend towards urbanization. About three million people live there, mostly in towns or cities – and almost 20% of the inhabitants are foreign residents. Moving to Oman from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, and the Philippines, the foreign labor force is an important part of the Omani economy. There is also a far less sizable community of European and US expatriates: Approximately 10,000 such nationals have decided upon moving to Oman.

The official language is Arabic, but non-Arabic speakers moving to Oman needn’t worry: English is widely understood or spoken, particularly in the capital and the business world. Due to the above mentioned influx of foreign-born workers moving to Oman, Urdu, Baluchi, and various Indian languages, such as Hindi and Malayalam, are increasingly common.