Executive Director of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) Ali Radhi revealed in exclusive comments to our sister newspaper Al Ayam, that the number of illegal workers in Bahrain has decreased by 14,000 since a comprehensive national campaign was launched earlier in the year following the directives of Crown Prince and Chairman of the Economic Development Board, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Speaking during a Ramadhan majlis hosted by Al Ayam, Radhi noted that the objective of this campaign is to reduce the number of illegal workers in the Kingdom by at least 20,000 per year.
He added that the current statistics show an even greater rate of success, as by the end of the year this target is expected to have been exceeded. The LMRA has been conducting numerous inspection campaigns and raids to catch illegal workers with the help and cooperation of various other authorities.
Radhi explained that together with the Coast Guard, the authority has also been able to conduct several raids at sea to weed out those working illegally on fishing vessels.
The LMRA official stated that in addition to the raids, the LMRA has also introduced the Easy Exit scheme which has received a good response and strong cooperation from government institutions, foreign embassies and civil society institutions. Radhi confirmed that 7,000 illegal workers have left Bahrain voluntarily under the scheme.
These measures have all been designed to target those expats who are living in Bahrain on an expired work or visit visa, as well as ‘free visa’ workers who do not actually work for the sponsor listed on their work permit. The Easy Exit scheme allows expats holding expired visas to return home without having to pay the accumulated fees normally levied on anyone having overstayed their visa.