Bahrain to lift fee freeze on expat workers
Manama, August 28, 2013
Companies from the public and private sectors in Bahrain will restart paying the BD10 ($26.4) levy for each foreign worker starting on Sunday after a 28-month suspension on fees for expat workers is lifted.
The freeze on levy was introduced to help businesses recover from financial losses caused by the unrest in 2011, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
However, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that employ less than five workers will only have to pay half the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) tax following a Cabinet decision.
Under the new regulations, companies that employ less than five expatriates have to pay BD5, while starting from the sixth worker they have to pay the BD10 charge.
"The LMRA is fully prepared to collect the fees from companies starting on September 1," said Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan.
"The fees collected will go towards funding Tamkeen in its several projects to train Bahraini workforce and create job opportunities. This will have positive impact on the economy and further help businesses recover."
It comes as he visited the LMRA headquarters in Sanabis, where he was assured invoices will be sent out to companies to pay the fee.
He said there were around 49,000 commercial registrations operating in Bahrain, with details of foreign workers employed recorded in the LMRA's database.
Businesses that do not pay the fees will have all their labour transactions temporarily halted until the payment is cleared.
During this period, they will not be granted visas to hire additional foreign workers.
The levy will be reintroduced after being suspended in April 2011 to offset the financial impact of the unrest on the private sector.
Traders earlier staged protests calling to scrap the fees saying it affected business, especially SMEs. They claimed some businesses were still struggling to stay afloat following the unrest. – TradeArabia News Service