Expats urged to update status

EXPATRIATE workers risk becoming illegal if they fail to update their details with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), a top official has warned. Many people mistakenly assume their boss has renewed their work visa only to later find out it never happened, said chief executive officer Ausamah Abdulla Al Absi.

“In many cases we do not have a worker’s mobile phone or e-mail in our records, which means we cannot contact them if there is a change in their status,” he said. “It becomes difficult for us to contact this worker and inform him that his status has changed and he could be illegal.”

Mr Al Absi urged all foreign workers to visit the LMRA headquarters in Sanabis to update their details in the database.

“We have a system which automatically sends text messages to workers to inform them about any change in their legal status,” he said.

“There is our multilingual website (www.lmra.bh) which most of the foreign workers are not taking advantage of despite stating all the required details.”

Meanwhile, Mr Al Absi said there were no plans to hold another government amnesty for expatriate workers.

“I am not a big fan of the East Exit Scheme that LMRA launched in 2010.

“We have the mobility law that allows workers to switch employers and other measures for them to rectify their status.”

Mr Al Absi also does not believe Bahrain should reduce its dependency on foreign workers.

“It is important for us to identify sectors where local workforce is required and gradually introduce market elements instead of replacing workers,” he said.

“There needs a large degree of flexibility in the market to control the elements of an economy.”

Foreign workers can contact LMRA through its call centre on 17506055 between 7.30am and 3.30pm from Sunday to Thursday or e-mail: lmra@lmra.gov.bh

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