Employers who fail to adhere to Bahrainisation quotas will be fined or have work permits cancelled, a top official warned. The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has accused employers of consistently abusing the Bahrainisation Law, which states that a Bahraini has to be hired for every four foreign workers.
Some companies have Bahrainis on the payroll just to secure work permits for foreign employees, while others have allegedly fired Bahrainis after receiving the permits.
This prompted a Cabinet decision, which was issued last month and came into effect yesterday, to fine employers BD300 for every violating foreign worker or have their permits cancelled.
“The Parallel Elective System of Bahrainisation will begin to be implemented on the website,” said LMRA chief executive Ausamah Abdulla Al Absi.
“The LMRA, Labour and Social Development Ministry and the government have been working on Bahrainisation for 20 years.
“It is one of the important ways we have to give jobs to Bahraini citizens.”
Mr Al Absi was speaking at a Press conference held at the LMRA headquarters in Sanabis yesterday, where he said he expected labour inspections to reach 17,000 by the end of the year.
“We started thinking about Bahrainisation and how there are no real penalties in place,” he added.
“Known locally as buying CPRs, there are people who just have Bahrainis on the cards in order to get permits for foreign workers.
“In the new law, it puts a price on those who do not abide by Bahrainisation to the letter and are fined.
“This will close in on those who find loopholes or simply break the law.
“So if Bahrainisation was one of the stipulations of receiving the permit, then they will lose it if they no longer adhere to Bahrainisation.
“They need to read the law and see that they will not have it renewed and will be punished if they find that they do not stick to the letter of the law.”
Mr Al Absi said the LMRA would use every means possible, whether administrative or financial, to ensure the law was followed.
“We will ensure that the Bahrainis who are on the records are actually doing the jobs and we will take whatever necessary steps as a result of our inspections, whether that’s a fine or cancelling permits,” he explained.
“This is also a one-year warning that as of April 2017 we will also stop renewing permits if the Bahrainisation quota is not adhered to.
“LMRA will take into account intentions – if an employer recently had a Bahraini quit and now were under the quota as a result, we will give them the opportunity to find and employ another Bahraini.
“However, for those who just want to skirt the system and do not have sufficient documentation to prove they’ve hired Bahrainis, including bank statements and attendance sheets, will be
He emphasised that the new system would place economic pressure on companies to hire more Bahrainis in order to avoid higher fees.
“Those who bought CPRs was a by-product of an inability to adhere to Bahrainisation, whether it’s because they can’t get Bahrainis or because they’re available and they still don’t prefer to hire Bahrainis,” said Mr Al Absi.
“The BD300 isn’t a holy number, we will look at the figure and review it every three months to make sure it’s working.
“If we feel like it’s not high enough, we’ll make it higher, and if we feel like it’s too harsh – which I don’t believe it is – we will decrease it.”