False news 'scare returning Bahraini expats'
Manama, May 14, 2011
Workers who left Bahrain during the unrest are sceptical about returning because of false coverage by the foreign media, it has been claimed.
The Bahrain Recruiters Society blamed television, newspapers and Internet news sites for the problem, which they said had also made job-seekers think twice before taking up jobs here.
'The foreign media is not highlighting the real situation and spreading false news,' said society president Fareed Al Mahmeed.
'This is affecting newcomers to work in the country, who unfortunately believe such reports. 'They made the country look like a war zone.'
Al Mahmeed said during February and March several expatriate workers, mostly employed in hotels, left the country.
'I cannot give you the figures of how many left, but there were workers who were asked to leave by their employers mostly in hospitality sector due to bad business,' he said.
The GDN reported in March that hotel occupancy rates in Bahrain halved as a result of unrest.
Occupancy rates were expected to stand between 75 and 80 per cent, but were hovering between 20 and 35 per cent, said Bahrain Tourism Company chief executive officer and Five Star Hotels executive committee chairman Abdulnabi Daylami.
The sector was further hit by the postponement of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
'There are some returning workers, who found jobs in their home countries and new recruits who want to take up employment in Bahrain,' said Al Mahmeed.
'But it's natural for a worker to reconsider his decision with these biased reports on television about Bahrain. This portrays a bad picture to people outside the country.'
Society members met Philippines Ambassador Corazon Yap-Bahjin on Monday.
Mahmeed said they were assured by her that the temporary ban on Filipino job-seekers coming to Bahrain would be lifted by June 1.
'There has been a ban on new hires from Manila for close to three months,' he said. 'The ambassador told us they have communicated with authorities in Philippines to lift the ban by June 1.'
It would coincide with the date that Bahrain plans to lift the State of National Safety.
Filipinos already working in Bahrain returning from holiday and people being rehired on valid work visas have not been affected by the ban.
However, they have to sign a document stating they are returning to their employers in Bahrain at their own risk.
The Philippines tightened emigration rules as a result of Bahrain's political unrest during which anti-government factions attacked Asian expatriates - killing four and injuring hundreds.-TradeArabia News Service