Bahrain – As lockdowns ease around the world and countries strive to return to business-as-usual, Bahrain is all set to accommodate the return of foreign workers as hiring resumes after a five-month suspension.

Migrant workers make up around 54.7% of Bahrain’s workforce. However, amidst the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Kingdom had put a ban on the hiring of new foreign workers in March 2020. The decision to reopen work permits came following a decision issued by the Government Executive Committee, chaired by Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

Employers can now apply for new work visas for non-resident employees. However, the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has implemented a new mechanism for the employment of expatriate workers. The new process dictates that the employers are required to first post the vacancy in the local newspapers for a period of 7 days, mentioning the position, the company name, the e-mail and the telephone number registered in LMRA system. In addition to the above, the approval of the request with the LMRA will be postponed for 14 days

The change will delay the process for foreign workers but is a part of the government’s plans to support the local economy; owing to the worldwide economic slowdown Bahrain’s economy is predicted to contract by 3.6% this year. Thus the new mechanism is aimed at boosting employment opportunities for those already present in the country.

Source: LMRA