Bahrain mulls law to restrict hiring of expats
Manama, April 11, 2012
New restrictions will be imposed on the hiring of expatriate workers to create more jobs for Bahrainis, said a senior government official.
Labour Minister and chairman of Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) Jameel Humaidan said during the weekly parliament session that Bahrainisation was important to create a peaceful society, since jobs guaranteed personal security for local citizens.
"The majority of our workforce is expatriate and they are increasing, especially with the suspension of the LMRA fees due to losses suffered by businesses in Bahrain during the unrest," said Humaidan.
"We are already training Bahrainis to become the private sector's premium choice, but there is unfair competition between Bahrainis and expatriates - considering the second option is cheaper.
"The ministry now doesn't focus on numbers with regard to Bahrainisation in sectors, we accept even the employment of a few Bahrainis in places that we see could be filled by Bahrainis, rather than expatriates.
"Everyone knows that there are a lot of vacancies without demand and jobseekers without opportunities, so we have to create an equilibrium and that's what I am trying to introduce as a new labour market concept."
He revealed 2,500 Bahrainis who graduated in humanitarian sciences would be retrained to become more employable.
"Rather than being graduates without any opportunity, through a new scheme that has been approved by the Cabinet a few days ago, many of the unemployed will be presented with opportunities as we repackage them and make them more attractive."
Humaidan was responding to a question by MP Ibtisam Hejres on the ministry's efforts to secure jobs for the unemployed.
She showed interviews with a number of jobless on parliament's TV screens before being stopped.
"We are planning to impose tough restrictions on expatriate labourers and they will be just permitted to work according to need," said Humaidan.
"There are violations committed in expatriates' employment and we just have a few inspectors in the LMRA. Twelve new recruits are waiting for judicial powers from the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry.
"Several staff from other departments are being sent on inspections to cover for shortages, but we can't do a lot considering the number of private businesses in Bahrain,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service