Bosses face new charges to hire expatriates

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Employers wishing to exceed their regular quota will have to pay an additional BD300 for each extra expatriate worker they hire – on the basis of BD150 annually. Apart from the additional fees, employers will still be required to pay the regular two-year BD200 levy and monthly fees on each foreign worker.

The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) started implementing the new formula on May 2, in compliance with the edict of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi is leading efforts to outline details of the new optional scheme, which will be parallel to the mandatory quota-based Bahrainisation policy.

He separately met representatives of major firms, leading contracting companies and hotels last Thursday and introduced them to the new system which aims to narrow the cost gap between nationals and expatriate workers.

NHe made it clear that the new procedure will not put any constraints on the needs of companies for foreign workers, especially in sectors which are deemed unattractive to Bahrainis.

He pointed out that the employment of Bahrainis in companies according to the quota system is a condition sine qua non to issue or renew work permits for foreigners.

“Bahrainis are willing to work in all sectors provided that they find favourable conditions and rewarding wages,” he said, dismissing claims that citizens are not hard-working or reluctant to work.

He announced that the LMRA would review the new additional fee every three months to assess its impact on the level of Bahrainisation.

He warned that the additional fee would be increased further in case the rate of Bahrainisation drops below the agreed quota.

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