Bahrain bosses warn of labour stability threat
Manama, May 10, 2009
The axing of the sponsorship system for foreign workers will result in huge losses and employees sharing confidential corporate information with competitors, claim Bahrain's contractors.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Contractors' Committee head Sameer Nass said the entire sector was infuriated over the move.
'We were not consulted by the government before the decision was made,' he said.
'We were told about the idea long time ago, but our objections were not considered.
'The nature of Bahrain's business, like in other GCC countries, depends mainly on the expatriate workforce and importing labour is a difficult and expensive process here.
'If we were doing business in countries like India, the UK or the US, this system would not be much of a concern because there are enough highly-qualified people available in the market.
'But this is not the case in Bahrain, where businesses have to rely on foreign labour for most of the jobs.
He said businesses were mainly worried about staff working in top positions in their companies being allowed to change jobs at will.
'A high-profile company spends from BD6,000 to BD10,000 to recruit a highly-qualified senior man from abroad to manage a project costing millions of dinars.
'A couple of months later, after he learns the market, he decides to join a competitor for a little more money and with him takes confidential information about the company and project.
'This company may also get staff from competitors. But is it fair?'
'Same is the case with any other staff dealing with company's confidential information like accountants.'
'It is a dangerous situation, especially because Bahrain's market is so small. There will be no stability in companies.'
'There are sponsors who exploit the current sponsorship system and we consider them criminals.'
'But it is not right that the government punishes others who follow the law.'
'This law is too partial to the expatriates because the sponsor will still be held responsible when they get into trouble.'
'We hope that the government reconsiders its decision,' he said.-TradeArabia News Service