Expats will find the cost of living in Oman more reasonable than that of many neighbouring countries and income is generally tax-free. Prices are highest in the capital city and according to the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Muscat ranks 96th out of 209 cities, making it more expensive than Toronto but cheaper than Rome and Madrid.

Expat packages in Oman for highly skilled Western workers still seem to be generous and tend to offer good salaries, accommodation, a car, bonuses, flights home and medical insurance. But, some things are too good to be true: as comprehensive as these contracts seem, there are always unforeseen costs. Watch out for the added cost of visas and related health checks. School fees are also a big add-on cost. But the real financial issue when working in Oman is the relative job insecurity, rather than the pay package or the cost of living.


Cost of accommodation in Oman

Expats will be happy to find that accommodation costs are much more affordable than many expat destinations, with lower rent and utility expenses. New homes are constantly popping up so it is easy to find a place that fits any budget, mood and style. That said, costs do vary with size, facilities and area. Many rentals come unfurnished, so shipping and buying furniture are additional costs, and utilities, such as water, gas and electricity, are generally excluded in the quoted rental price.

New arrivals must note that some tenants may ask for advanced lump sums, paying rent for the year in advance, or every six months or four months. Rent can be paid monthly too, it is important to understand the lease contract.


Cost of transport in Oman

The cost of using a car in Oman is much cheaper than in Europe. As a result, virtually every expat drives and few use public transport – though, buses do make a cheaper alternative. Taxis are also good value – there is a metered fare to gauge the price and passengers can often negotiate this if they are not satisfied with the amount.


Cost of food and entertainment in Oman

European expats will find the cost of food and drink in Oman cheaper, while others may find it more expensive. Regardless, though, if one is willing to consume local products, it will be possible to save money.

Alcohol

Buying alcohol in Oman can be complicated and costly and there are strict laws and lifestyle customs to abide by. Alcohol can only be bought and consumed in establishments and restaurants that have a proper license to sell it, and if rules are not followed, expats can face hefty fines.

Entertainment

Eating out can be costly, and if wanting a drink, expats must frequent expensive Western-style hotels. If a person doesn't mind foregoing the booze, there is a wide array of independent ‘dry’ establishments, where the food is excellent and reasonably priced. 

Sadly, tourist activities are highly overpriced. On the flip side, though, beach activities cost next to nothing cinema tickets are relatively cheap and the Royal Opera House, a must-see- has internationally competitive prices.


Cost of healthcare in Oman

Citizens of Oman and other member countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf can access public healthcare for free. Other expats get a subsidised rate with public healthcare but tend to opt for private options. Health insurance is a must when moving to Oman and most companies offer it to the family as part of the employment package. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of the insurance to ensure it covers dentistry and mental health too.


Cost of schooling in Oman

The cost of schooling is a huge expense if the company does not pay – especially if an expat has several children. While there are public schools, expats generally opt for international and private schooling, which is costly and many schools demand that fees are paid before the first day of the term.


Cost of living in Oman chart

(Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider and the table below is based on average prices for Muscat in June 2020)

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

OMR 200 - 280

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

OMR 350 - 500

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

OMR 120 - 200

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

OMR 250 - 320

Shopping

Milk (1 litre)

OMR 0.65

Dozen eggs

OMR 1.00

Loaf of white bread

OMR 0.50

Rice (1kg)

OMR 0.85

Pack of chicken breasts (1kg)

OMR 2.20

Bottle of local beer

OMR 2

Pack of cigarettes

OMR 2.40

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

OMR 2.50

Cappuccino

OMR 1.80

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

OMR 15

Utilities

Mobile call rate (minute-to-minute)

OMR 0.05

Internet (uncapped - average per month)

OMR 30

Utilities (gas, electricity, water - average per month)

OMR 23

Transport

City centre bus fare

OMR 0.50

Taxi (rate per km)

OMR 0.20

Petrol (per litre)

OMR 0.22

Expat Health Insurance

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