A PUSH to employ more Bahrainis in the agricultural sector was launched yesterday with plans for national quotas and a cap on work visas.The initiative is being spearheaded by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) with the support of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
Officials hope to create a greater link between the labour market, qualified Bahraini workers and companies looking for employees.
A meeting was held yesterday at the BCCI to discuss initiatives to determine the rate of Bahrainisation in the agricultural sector and the means to implement measures to guarantee further increase.
It was conducted by BCCI board member Ibrahim Abdali Al Daaysi and LMRA policy development head Nedhal Al Bana.
Quotas and official forms for each company in the sector will be established where their progress in employing more Bahrainis can be clearly analysed, said Mr Al Bana.
The forms assess how many non-Bahraini staff, Bahraini and disabled Bahraini staff are employed by each company, so that the percentage ratio between all three categories can be improved over the next few years, he added.
The forms will be open for public viewing and each company’s rate of Bahrainisation will be assessed officially by analysing their initial rate to the one taken after a year, said the official.
“The current ratio of Bahraini to non-Bahraini workers, according to the national commercial register, stands at 20 to 45,” said Mr Al Bana.
“Our overall aim is to increase the percentage of Bahraini workers in the work force from 20 per cent to 40pc.
“With these forms and new quotas, changes to the structure of each company will be achieved, so that we work together to create more employment opportunities for Bahraini citizens.
“Intensive training programmes will be developed and offered to low skilled Bahraini workers to ensure that they receive the best qualifications to undertake such jobs.”
The training will be carried out in stages and creates a mutually beneficial circle for country’s economy as well as the Bahraini employees, said Mr Al Daaysi.
Four levels of computer and class training within a specific field of expertise lead to the employment of a newly skilled Bahraini citizen, he said.
This in turn generates a consistent income for the Bahraini citizens who through the use of national services, invest their income into the national economy, said Mr Al Daaysi.
The agriculture sector currently employs foreign workers in crops, horticulture, vegetable and fruits, livestock and landscape design sectors.
Officials plan to place a limit on the number of foreign visas issued in various professions to open up this job market to Bahrainis.
“An agreement between the agricultural sector and the BCCI is also needed to guarantee a rise in the number of Bahrainis employed in this field and to limit the number of foreign workers in these jobs,” said Mr Al Daaysi.