Bahrain residents urged to report illegal housemaids
Manama, June 11, 2014
Authorities want people to report illegal housemaids or cleaners who are being hired out on an hourly basis.
Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) chief executive Ausamah Al Absi said they were operating outside the law and were being pursued, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He said manpower agencies were hiring out domestic workers without permission.
"Housemaids or cleaners working on an hourly basis is not authorised and is illegal in Bahrain," Al Absi told MPs yesterday during discussions on runaway housemaids.
"Owners of manpower agencies and private cleaning companies use unwanted housemaids or cleaners.
"This is a bad practice and we are looking to end it, but we urge families who have been offered such services to help us."
Meanwhile, Al Absi said the LMRA had visited countries providing housemaids for Bahraini families to assess standards.
"We reached a conclusion that there is no connection or contact between families and the housemaids before coming to work.
"It has been found that despite the high costs that families have to bear, there are no guarantees of value and at the same time poor housemaids are dragged here on promises that the country's laws will protect them and they will live in dignity."
He said the LMRA inspects manpower agencies every three months and has introduced unified template contracts.
"We have opened a grievances office and special inspectors visit manpower agencies to check their books and dealings, besides workers, but we can't enter homes by law to check on work conditions," he said.
"In all cases, licences to open manpower agencies are not given to those with criminal records to ensure they do not breach human rights or are involved in human trafficking.
"We all also oblige those seeking to open a firm to deposit a financial guarantee."
Meanwhile, Al Absi accused the Philippines Embassy of sheltering runaway housemaids and other workers. "The embassy has a residence inside its premises as documents and news say, which is a violation, but we don't have power as an executive body to enter the place, so we can't confirm or deny the situation," he said.
He said recommendations to be reviewed by the Cabinet include unified contracts, obliging the LMRA to monitor all contracts, forming a grievances office at the LMRA and inspecting manpower agencies.
They also include taking action against embassies that shelter runaways, preparing a study to re-evaluate the housemaid market, collating exact numbers of runaway housemaids, increasing inspections, revising a law proposed by parliament on housemaids and coming up with measures against families mistreating housemaids. A recommendation on increasing restrictions on manpower agencies was also added by MPs. - TradeArabia News Service