BAHRAIN is open for business, allowing employers to hire new foreign workers, said a top official yesterday.
There has been good response since the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) resumed issuing work permits from Sunday.
Job vacancies are being listed daily in Arabic and English newspapers, reflecting a demand for workers with different skills set, said LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi.
The new move aims to provide a lifeline to thousands of migrant workers and citizens who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“The response is growing gradually as we have now opened the door for accepting applications for new work permits, giving preference to local hiring,” Mr Al Absi told the GDN yesterday.
“We are open for business but as of now labour-sending countries are not ready, in terms of contracts or medical testing for overseas recruitments.
“There are also flight restrictions but I expect to see the real response in three weeks.”
Currently, major labour-exporting countries such as India and Bangladesh are not allowing commercial flights.
The classified advertisements will be listed in newspapers for seven days, mentioning the company, the position, the email address and telephone number registered in the LMRA system.
The labour watchdog is charging BD30 for each application as advertising costs which will be added to the monthly invoice of the Commercial Registration (CR).
The employers have the right to select the publication and electronically mention it in their job applications for new work permits for overseas hiring.
“The work permit application process does not include domestic workers, while only 50 per cent of the fees are being collected as part of Covid-19 relief measures announced by the authorities,” added Mr Al Absi.
He said the pandemic affected different sectors and individuals in the country, though Covid-19 cannot constitute as a force majeure event.
“For example, supermarkets did good business while gyms, salons or hotels were affected, so we need to look at this from an economic point of view, whether everyone was affected or not.”
The official urged all embassies in Bahrain to double their efforts to help their nationals affected by Covid-19, adding that it was a “joint responsibility”.
In June, the LMRA launched an online jobs portal, talentportal.bh, to connect private sector employers with the jobseekers.
More than 3,100 people have so far registered for the free service.
Mr Al Absi said last month that more than 45,000 workers have benefited from fee waivers as part of Team Bahrain’s efforts to protect the economy and contain the pandemic.
Labour fee waivers for three months have not only helped Bahrain’s economy but also provided 45,000 workers with new opportunities.
An average of 6,000 foreign workers lost their jobs in March and April due to Covid-19.
Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan said in June that around 8,800 businesses were affected partially or fully due to the pandemic.
The minister told legislators that 2,331 business establishments with around 35,000 employees have not been affected.
He added that 97 per cent of those who had lost their jobs were expats, while 3pc were Bahrainis.
Meanwhile, a report in Bangladesh newspaper, The Daily Star, yesterday quoted a diplomat based in Bahrain as saying that between 5,000 to 10,000 Bangladeshis in the hospitality industry were affected due to the Covid-19 economic fallout.
Labour counsellor Shaikh Islam said that a number of companies run by Bangladeshis work on a sub-contract basis in Manama and supplied workers to different construction sites.
He added that those companies were facing a shortage of workers.