The statements issued by Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) Chief on ‘work permit’ and deportation of expatriates’ homemakers, who are employed as teachers across the Kingdom, has, undoubtedly, landed many private schools in a state of perplexity. Majority of the school heads, in unison, said that they did not want to ‘avoid either paying the monthly levy of BD10 against each foreign employee or the application fee’ as stated by Ausamah Al Absi, and assured that they were willing to rectify legal irregularities, if there are any.
Speaking on the situation, New Millennium School (NMS) Principal Arun Kumar Sharma told DT that his school management was taken aback by the LMRA’s unexpected entry into the scene.
“We had a meeting of all the heads of private schools in the Kingdom three years ago, chaired by Ali Radhi (then Chief Executive Officer of LMRA), when we were directed to get a temporary work permit from the Labour Ministry after getting approval from the Education Ministry. And thus, the matter was reverted from the LMRA to Labour Ministry, hitherto, we have been following in accordance with that, ” explained Mr.
Sharma, adding that school heads have had no discussions regarding the statement, although, they are planning to meet Mr. Al Absi to seek clarifications apart from gaining a clear picture on the uniform procedure.
“It is neither that we want to evade paying the levy nor we are against hiring teachers on our visas. Even if we are willing to hire teachers on our visas, they are unwilling to accept as we are not in a position to offer them the benefits that they enjoy under their husband’s sponsorship, ” he explained.
Supplementing Mr. Sharma’s view, New Horizon School
Principal Nirmala Jose said that the ‘general perception’ has always been that teachers and nurses were exempted from such restrictions.
“We had approached the ministries concerned in the past and there had never been any definite ruling with respect to this status.
Back in the eighties, there was a special provision, according to which, the sponsor could give an NOC to his employee’s spouse as well, although it got changed later.
“At present, we are not in a position to hire teachers by providing the facilities that they enjoy under their husband’s sponsorship and so we have teachers working with us on NOCs. This has been informed to the ministries concerned and we hope to hear from the officials and are ready to rectify, ” said Ms. Jose.
Meanwhile, she also pointed out that the school’s strength would be adversely affected if many expatriate teachers were removed.
“Many local parents will not be willing to send their children to private schools in such a scenario