As part of its efforts to bal ance the rights of employees with that of employers, Kingdom’s key labour authority has announced flexibility on its rules governing the work permit duration.The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has also stressed on the need for streamlining employment records, by maintaining the obligatory `Foreign Employees Register’ with specific minimum required information.
The announcement in this regard was issued by the Labour Minister and LMRA Board Chairman Jameel Humaidan yesterday.
“Both the announcements fall in line with the LMRA’s vision and responsibility to ensure that the rights and obligations of both employers and employees are protected,“ LMRA Chief Executive Officer Ausamah Al Absi told DT News.
Flexibility is the aim “Flexibility to the business community is the key aim behind the new system. This gives employers the benefit of applying for work permits for a duration of one year instead of the regular two years at half the price. It also comes with the choice to renew it for another six months or one year for the associated cost, while the regular two year visas will continue to be issued and renewed as normal,“ explained Mr. Al Absi.
“The decision also falls in place with the recognition of the economic situation in the country. Two years period is a long term and the amendment is all about giving people a chance,“ he said.
Noting that the system will be in place from October 1, he pointed out that the law also allows employers to organise the affairs of their employees to suit the requirements of the varied contracts. “In fact, this resolution gives businessmen more freedom in managing their cash flow. And, notably, the LMRA spares no efforts to provide more facilities and concessions to the commercial sector and the businessmen in order to develop the national economy and meet the competitive advantage,“ he pointed out.
As per the amendment, the LMRA may renew the work permit for the duration as per the requirement of the employer or his authorised person in a format issued by the LMRA for this purpose, manually or online, not exceeding 180 days prior to the expiry of the work permit.
The renewal request must include all information together with all documents in the requested format apart from meeting the terms and conditions.
Termination of Work Permits The amendments also include article regarding the termination of the work permit at the request of the employer or by the discretion of the employee.
“The LMRA, after scrutinising the demand or the request, will decide on terminating the work permit, and would inform the concerned immediately,“ said Mr. Al Absi. He also added that the concerned person can file a grievance against the LMRA’s decision at its CEO’s Office and all notifica tion and responses must be done through the postal service or by electronic means.
Foreign Employees Register The employer is obliged to maintain a record of all foreign employees in a special register called the `Foreign Employees Register’ (FER), as per the amendment.
“This is one of the ways to streamline proper records that can be referred to authorities during inspection or disputes,“ said Mr. Al Absi, pointing out that many business houses in Bahrain maintain records with more details.
“Big businesses, generally have a proper system to maintain this, while small and medium businesses tend to overlook this requirement,“ he noted.
The resolution also includes the need for serialising the page number of the register, and the information to be updated on the regular bases, and accurately to reflect the actual situation of the organisation.
This register may be maintained manually or electronically in line with the systems approved by the LMRA.
The employer is obliged to protect and save this register so that it is ready available upon request, at any time.
Moreover, the employer is bound to enable the LMRA inspectors and its concerned staff access the register and provide the necessary information recorded in the register readily. Details to be maintained by FERs l Name and the nationality of the worker l Date of birth l Qualifications and job l Address of residence in the Kingdom l Identification details l Type of profession l Date of arrival in the Kingdom at the start of employment l Duration of work permit l Duration or employment contract if existing l Salary agreed upon l Mode of payment including all monetary benefits agreed upon l Bank details for both the employee and the employer l Associated licences from the concerned bodies.