Ultimatum to job agencies

Bahrain: More than 100 manpower agencies could lose their licences because they refuse to pay a BD10,000 deposit as part of rules to regulate the recruitment field in Bahrain.
A December 31 deadline has been set by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), which requires recruitment firms to have the money deposited in a bank account to have their licences renewed.

LMRA planning and licensing director Hassan Al Rahma said only 120 of 235 manpower agencies in Bahrain have deposited the cash, which could be used to compensate migrant workers and employers in case of contract violations.

“We have a total of 235 registered recruitment agencies in Bahrain of which only 120 have completed all the formalities, including paying the BD10,000 deposit,” said Mr Al Rahma.

“In addition to paying the deposit, all agencies have to provide accommodation for new domestic workers with proper facilities.
“The agencies have no issue with this condition as they are ready to provide the accommodation, but are refusing to pay the BD10,000 deposit as they claim they cannot afford it.

“This is a one-time security deposit to compensate Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis if the agency does not fulfil its obligation.”

Mr Al Rahma said money will only be deducted from an agency’s bank account to compensate victims of abuse, repatriate labourers and pay employers duped into hiring unskilled domestic workers.

“Once the agency’s commercial registration is cancelled, the BD10,000 deposit will be refunded to the owner,” he added.

“The licences of the agencies will be suspended for not abiding by the law.

“One should understand this is an important and sensitive sector that needs to be regulated. We would like people in Bahrain and outside to use the registered job agencies to ensure there is no exploitation of the worker.”

Last year, LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi said the rule was put in place following consultations with parliament and a public survey in which the majority of 4,000 people queried said recruitment agencies had to give some kind of guarantee to live up to their agreements with employers and workers.

Mr Al Absi added that the money will be returned to the agencies if they close shop.

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