Bahrain bosses face new fees deadline
Manama, May 25, 2009
Employers in Bahrain have until Wednesday to pay outstanding fees to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), or risk having all their foreign workers' visas cancelled.
The measure will also include employers who have failed to register and update their information, as well as those who have not renewed their employees' expired work visas, said LMRA chief executive Ali Radhi.
'All those who have not paid the monthly fee for more than three months and those who flout the other conditions will cease to be legal after that day,' he said.
'We will proceed to cancel all work visas issued to all employers who have violated the law and continue doing so.
'We have given everyone enough time to get their paperwork in order but many seem to have not bothered.'
Radhi said work permits could be renewed six months before they expired.
'This has also not happened. We have to now crack the whip,' he said.
He had said earlier a crackdown was underway after more than 21,000 companies were discovered breaking labour laws.
Officials were also investigating 5,000 suspected shell companies, set up to cash in on visa racketeering, added Radhi.
He said inspection campaigns had been undertaken by the LMRA with other government agencies to stamp out various illegal practices in the labour market.
The LMRA had earlier set March 31 as the deadline for all business owners and government organisations to verify and complete their expatriate labour records.
But the deadline was later extended after it was reported many expatriates had failed to regularise their visas due to a backlog of cases at the Health Ministry for their medical examinations.
Radhi said officials had received hundreds of calls from people saying they were given appointments for medical examinations weeks after the expiry of the deadline.
He said Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Aziz Hamza had assured LMRA officials they would try to speed up medical appointments.
Private hospitals had also been authorised to conduct medical tests on expatriates, provided these were later endorsed at the Al Razi Health Centre, Manama, the main centre for conducting such examinations.
'We have now given enough time and are not able to give any more,' said Radhi.
As part of the process, all business owners should renew the expired passports of their expatriate staff to enable obtaining the remaining balance period of the residence permit from the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports & Residence (GDNPR) before Wednesday.
Employers must also ensure that all expatriate family members who are residing in Bahrain are registered under the same Commercial Register (CR) and if not, they should visit the GDNPR and correct their status by transferring all family members to the same CR (and branch) that the expatriate is working for.-TradeArabia News Service