Muscat - Post Report Question and Answers
What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
We only had part-time help once a week, for just three hours. It was very inexpensive. Many people had full-time help, and it was affordable. - Jan 2022
Household help is relatively affordable compared to the US and many people employ a full-time housekeeper or nanny. Most folks pay their household help between $450-$550 per month, plus overtime and a food or housing allowance. There are also other costs such as health insurance, tickets back home, visa sponsoring, and other things to consider. Almost everyone's household help lives with them, which, to me, seems crazy, but it's very convenient. - Dec 2018
This can be a potentially nightmarish situation so be forewarned. Basically there is not enough supply to meet demand within the embassy community. If you want the easy situation of hiring from a current US embassy employee - you will have to likely hire remotely via Skype and 4-6 months prior to arriving to post. Use the newsletter and word of mouth to find someone. The visa has to be renewed every 2 years and runs roughly $500. You also have to pay homeward passage every 2 years. Health insurance is about $475 annually. Most nannies are live-in and the majority are from the Philippines with some hailing from Sri Lanka. The bare minimum salary set by the embassy is $416/month. The average runs more in the area of $475- $575/month for F/T.
If you find yourself without a nanny already hired prior to coming to post - and both parents are working or you are a single parent - good luck with that. Some people have tried to do a "nanny share" but it's incredibly difficult logistically speaking. It takes about 2-3 months to bring someone new into the diplomatic community (mostly due to Omani gov processing time) and if they currently have an Omani sponsor expect that they will want a "release payment" from their current sponsor which can run in the area of $2400! I don't think this is legal so I chose to not partake in that practice - but be forewarned.
There are a few folks who have someone clean P/T like a day or two a week. I think the going rate is $25 for 4 hours. - Feb 2018
We don't have household help but most other families do. I hear the average cost is anywhere from $200-$800/month depending on the hours worked- live-in vs. visiting a couple of times a week. A rule that the local government has though, is that any family that has hired house help have to pay for their staff a homeward passage (flight ticket) to their home country once a year and provide them paid leave as well (this can get pricey!). The same goes if you would like to let go of your staff- you either have to find them further employment withing the Embassy community or by law you are required to pay for a one-way ticket to their home destination. This is all due to local laws being very strict on giving work visas- a work visa is only valid for as long as one has employment and the moment the house staff is let go they no longer have the right to be in the country and have to immediately depart and because you were the one "sponsoring" them to work, you are on the hook to pay for their ticket back. - Aug 2017
Oman has very strict labor laws regarding expat labor. Once a work contract expires or the employer leaves Oman, the domestic employee is supposed to leave as well and can't return for two years. As a result, there aren't tons of people looking for work, but they are out there. Additionally, these laws are evolving and seem to change weekly at this point. I am not sure on cost, but many people have nannies and help, so I would think it is reasonable. - Oct 2014
Domestic help is widely available, but the Omani labor laws require sponsorship that can make hiring a long, tough process. Better to hire from someone leaving, if you can manage it. - Jun 2012
If you are a stay-at-home spouse just looking for someone to tidy up from time to time, or help with the cooking, you will be fine. If you need someone to provide regular child care or more extensive duties, you need to shop around. It's not easy. Sponsorship laws are strict and tedious. It's easiest to get someone handed down from a previous embassy family, if possible. If you are coming to post and someone has a really good recommendation on a good nanny, agree to take them sight unseen. Good help goes fast, and especially if you arrive at the end of the summer you might end up arriving after the last decent nanny has been taken. - May 2012
Good...plenty to choose from. Live-in for about $350 a month. - Aug 2011
Domestic help is available and is expensive. Full-time help is about 400 a month. - Feb 2011
Readily available. A full-time live-in is $400-700 a month. - Apr 2010
available and reasonable - Feb 2010
Widely available. We shared one for $100 per month (four hours every Tuesday). - Jan 2010
Housemaids are ubiquitous, always themselves expats, and generally Philippine, Indian, Sri Lankan, or Indonesian. Full-time, live-in will likely cost 150 rials (US$400) or more per month plus accomomodation, moderate visa-sponsorhip fees, and, every two years, a round-trip ticket to the home country. Part-time help is technically not available, as the law states that expats may only work for their visa-sponsor, but even so many maids hire out on an hourly basis (1.5-2 RO, or up to $5).It's important to check references as thoroughly as possible. - Feb 2008