The Bahrain Labour Market Regulatory Authority ("LMRA"), in cooperation with the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs, has stepped up its inspection campaigns with the aim of cracking down on any prohibited practices that are detrimental to the labour market in Bahrain.
The inspection campaigns – which are primarily targeted towards illegal and undocumented expatriate workers in the Kingdom – has led to the arrest and deportation of several violating workers in line with the penalties prescribed under Law No. 19 of 2006 with respect to Regulation of the Labour Market (as amended) ("LMRA Law").
The LMRA will continue liaising with the component authorities in Bahrain to inspect commercial registers with the aim of ensuring nationwide compliance with the LMRA's rules and regulations.
What you should do as an employer
Employers hiring foreign workers in the Kingdom of Bahrain should ensure that they take all required steps to formalise the employment and sponsorship of their employees, including the following:
- Ensure that their establishment is registered with the LMRA;
- Verify that their employees are legally authorised to work in the Kingdom of Bahrain; and
- Ensure that all sponsored foreign employees hold valid residence visas and work permits.
In addition to the above, and with reference to the LMRA Law, employers must be cautious not to assign or second its sponsored employees to third parties, unless the relevant employee completes the regulatory requirements to legally transfer to another employer.
Potential consequences for non-compliance
Where an entity employing foreign employees fails to comply with the LMRA Law, the following penalties may be imposed by the LMRA:
- Fines ranging between BHD 1,000 – BHD 4,000 on the violating entity;
- Suspension of the violating entity's Commercial Registration (CR) for a period ranging between six (6) months and one (1) year;
- The imprisonment of violating workers for a term ranging between three (3) months and one (1) year; and
- The deportation of violating workers.
How we can help
As a leading law firm in the Middle East & North Africa Region and with a reputable and dedicated employment practice, Al Tamimi & Company is well placed to advise you on visa/permit requirements for foreign employees.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.