The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) will inaugurate in March the new domestic helpers system which will offer new services for citizens and the beneficiaries. Accordingly, applications for recruitment and the issuance of domestic helpers permits will take place electronically through one of the accredited domestic helpers agencies. Three operations will be combined into one and the beneficiary will have the possibility to issue or renew the worker’s permit optionally for one or two years.
LMRA held yesterday a training session for all domestic helpers agencies to inform them about the new system and its characteristics and the agencies’ new prerogatives. LMRA Chief Executive Ausama bin Abdullah AlAbsi said the authority is keen to provide all facilities, pointing out that since the last quarter of 2014 when LMRA took charge of the domestic helpers issue, the authority has worked on creating a data base for domestic workers. He added that in order to optimise its services by adding new facilities for the beneficiaries, the authority will inaugurate a new system to issue permits in March which will enable the domestic helpers agencies to present the application electronically on behalf of the beneficiary without the need to visit any public institution.
AlAbsi explained that according to the new system, citizens and expatriates wishing to issue a domestic helper permit can report to one of the offices accredited by LMRA to choose the worker and submit the application electronically. The application will be referred electronically to the Information and eGovernment Authority to issue an ID number for the worker and the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs to issue an entry visa without the need to go to any of the competent government institutions. The LMRA Chief Executive pointed out that the developmental steps are in line with the Government Action Plan to use electronic operations to streamline procedures. He added that permitting domestic helpers agencies to submit applications to bring in domestic workers consists in putting in place all regulations to ensure utmost assurance for the beneficiaries that there will be no exploitation as the issuance procedures of the permit will only take place after the personal approval of the household either by signing the application or through the electronic key at the Information and eGovernment Authority.
AlAbsi noted that after completing the permit procedures, the beneficiary will have to pay the fees combined. He pointed out that no extra payment will be added to the current fees, in line with the directives of the leadership and government. He added that like any worker in the public and private sectors, the biological data of the domestic helper will be taken on arrival at Bahrain International Airport. They include fingerprints, personal photo and signature as well as residence stamp in the passport without the need to report to the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence.
The LMRA Chief Executive pointed out that obtaining the domestic helper’s biological data aims to protect the community and prevent entry of deported or blacklisted workers to the Kingdom of Bahrain or any Gulf country. He stressed that this step aims to boost social security as it is in conformity with what is currently being applied concerning regular workers. He added after this step the employer (the household) can receive the worker’s ID card from the Information and eGovernment Authority by directly reporting to it or applying for it electronically. Then, the domestic helper can go to the health centre registered with the residence address to undergo the medical check-up.
AlAbsi affirmed that the new system will not only facilitate the issuance procedures of the permit but will also enable the beneficiary to issue the permit for one year or two years optionally. on renewal, the beneficiary can also renew for six months, one year or two years optionally, too. The move, he noted, gives more flexibility to families regarding the period of time in which they need the domestic helpers.
AlAbsi stressed that in addition to permitting the domestic helpers agencies to submit applications, the doors of LMRA will be open to submit the applications directly. Meanwhile, he warned of dealing with unlicensed agencies or mediators. He pointed out that the list of accredited agencies can be found on LMRA’s website www.lmra.bh or by calling the authority’s communication centre on 17506055.