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Bahrain 's LMRA warns rogue employers

Manama, August 24, 2008

An army of labour inspectors will soon be scouring companies throughout Bahrain, to root out illegal workers.

Rogue employers face heavy fines or even prison sentences, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority has warned.

In the run-up to the crackdown, its inspectors have been visiting business establishments on its lists to check whether they are still active.

So far, nearly 40 per cent of those checked appear to be inactive, said LMRA e-services and public relations manager Waheed Al Balushi.

The LMRA has just released the result of the first phase of an initial survey, carried out between June 30 and July 17.

'The total establishments visited by our inspectors during this period was 6,277, and only 3,644 of them were found to be active in business,' said Al Balushi.

'The inspectors left a note with establishments which were found closed to report to the LMRA if they are active in business. We do not presume that all those shops or offices found closed were inactive. Some may have been on lunch break or at the construction sites when our inspectors visited their premises.'

The establishments which were served notices must visit the LMRA with a copy of their commercial registration and the electricity bills, said Al Balushi. 'If they fail to do so, they will be taken out of our system,' he added.

Al Balushi said the survey would be completed within a month, following which a fully-fledged inspection would be carried out to ensure that all expats are legally employed.

Seventy LMRA inspectors will inspect work places to eliminate any illegal practices in the labour market, he added.

LMRA inspectors have the right to enter places of work during working hours, day or night. 'They should be provided with all necessary information and documents without any obstructions to their work,' said Al Balushi.

'To employ a foreign worker without a valid licence issued by LMRA is illegal. 'Such employers face an imprisonment for a period of at least three months, and not exceeding one year plus fine not less than BD1,000 and not more than BD2,000 or with either of the two penalties.'

Illegal workers caught will be deported. Among the inspectors are lawyers and other professionally qualified people who have undergone extensive training at the LMRA.

'They will carry out the inspection in small groups, which will also include representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Labour and Industry and Commerce,' said Al Balushi.

'Hi-tech methods will be used for inspection such as M-Cad, a portable equipment, used to capture the fingerprints of workers.

'The equipment is linked to the LMRA databank, and the status of the worker inspected will be therefore shown on the screen. Our inspectors will not stop anyone on roads and public places to check their credentials.' - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: LMRA | rogue employers | Waheed Al Balushi |

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