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Bahrain – New employment legislation announced

24 September 2013

Osamah bin Abdulla al Absi, CEO of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), has stated that the LMRA has adopted a new system that gives employers the benefit of applying for work permits with a duration of one year instead of the regular two years for half the price. Employers also have the choice to pay to renew the permit for another six months or one year. This has been done in accordance with the directives of the government to provide more facilities and flexibility for the Business community. The two year visas will continue to be issued and renewed as normal.

Mr Al Absi stated to local media that the new system will be adopted as of 1 October 2013 and provided further flexibility and facilities for businessmen. The new resolution will allow employers to organise the affairs of their employees to suit the requirements of the contracts they are awarded.

The new resolution amends article no 10 of resolution 76 for 2007 with regards to regulating the work permits for foreign workers, other than domestic workers. Article 10 states a work permit will be valid for a period of two years from the date of arrival of the foreign worker into the Kingdom, or the date of payment of fees. The work permit may be, at the request of the employer, limited to a period of one year for half the associated price.

The LMRA may renew the work permit if requested by the employer for another six months at the end of the first year of employment. In all cases the work permit may be renewed for a duration as per the requirement of the employer or their authorised person in a format issued by the LMRA for this purpose, manually or online, not exceeding 180 days prior to the expiry of the work permit.

The amendments also include article 13b regarding the termination of the work permit as the request of the employer or the desertion of the employee from work in violation of the work permit. The LMRA must inform the employer or his authorised person of the decision and the reason to terminate allowing the employer two days following the receipt of the notification to respond. If after scrutinising the response there is no ground for retaining the work permit the LMRA will proceed to terminate it and inform the employer or the authorized person of its decision immediately.

The Labour Minister and LMRA Board Chairman Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan has also issued a resolution relating to records kept by employers. The new resolution includes six articles: the employer is obliged to maintain a record of all foreign employees under his employment to be known as ‘Foreign employees Register’

  • It should comprise the name and nationality of the worker, as well as date of birth, the employee’s qualifications and job title, their address of residence in the Kingdom and all details of their identification ,
  • The type of profession, date of arrival in the Kingdom at the start of their employment,
  • The duration of work permit, duration or employment contract if existing, salary agreed upon and mode of payment including all monetary benefits agreed upon,
  • The bank details for both the employee and the employer, the associated licenses from the concerned bodies ( if the foreign employee is in a profession that requires approval and licensing)
  • And any other related rights and obligations on both parties during the employment period.

The resolution also includes a requirement to serialise the page number of the register, and updating the information on a regular basis in order to accurately reflect the status of the organisation. The employer is also obliged to enable the LMRA inspectors and its concerned staff access to the register and provide the necessary information recorded in the register readily.

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