Bahraini lawmakers have proposed a ban on recruitment of foreign workers in 35 job categories in the country’s private sector as well as increase in the minimum wage of all Bahrainis.
The full list of jobs that the legislators want reserved for Bahrainis alone has not been announced but it includes such fields as education, currency exchange, accounting and marketing, according to Bahraini media.
The proposal was officially submitted to their parliament in direct response to another proposed bill, which called for complete Bahrainisation of all sectors in the country and fines ranging from BD5,000 to BD20,000 for companies that still hired expats.
Bahrain MP Ahmed Al Salloom is spearheading the move to ban expat recruitment in 35 specific jobs.
He said, ‘Our proposal is… reasonable, as we are targeting 35 professions including education, money exchange, accounting and marketing. These fields are currently full of expatriates, who could be replaced by Bahrainis.’
‘For example,’ he said, ‘There are 30 money exchange companies in Bahrain and if they are fully Bahrainised we are looking at 3,000 jobs easily. It is around the same [number] for [each of] the other sectors we proposed.’
Bangladesh labour counselor in Manama Sheikh Mohammad Touhidul Islam hinted that the proposal that was submitted before the Bahraini parliament would certainly shrink the jobs for Bangladeshi workers if it was passed and implemented.
Bangladeshi migrant rights activist and WARBE Development Foundation’s secretary general Faruque Ahmed told Migration News that alternative job markets should be explored immediately for Bangladeshi migrant workers.
He also urged the government to make a large-scale investment to groom skilled workers for sending abroad with better overseas jobs.
According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, over 4.10 lakh workers have been recruited from Bangladesh by Bahrain since 1976.