New jobs hope for laid-off workers in Bahrain

Labour Market Regulatory Authority will start accepting requests for new work permits

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. The coronavirus lockdown measures are affecting almost 2.7bln workers, representing 81% of the world’s workforce.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The coronavirus lockdown measures are affecting almost 2.7bln workers, representing 81% of the world’s workforce.

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Bahrain - Thousands of migrant workers and Bahrainis who lost their livelihoods due to Covid-19 can start applying for new jobs from next week.

The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) announced last week it will start accepting requests for new work permits from Sunday.

All work permits were suspended in March following the outbreak of the pandemic.

The labour watchdog has changed the private sector’s hiring process by requiring the announcement of vacancies in local newspapers, to allow interested Bahrainis and expatriates residing in the kingdom to apply for jobs for a duration of two weeks.

The LMRA said the decision will help prioritise local hiring.

“We are ready to receive applications for new work permits from Sunday with preference given to employees who currently reside in Bahrain,” LMRA chief executive Ausamah Al Absi told the GDN yesterday.

“The applications will be kept for two weeks to allow employers to hire from the existing talent pool locally, including Bahrainis.

“The idea is to absorb the present workforce we have in the country rather than hire from abroad.

“If during the two-week period an employer cannot find a suitable candidate, we will further process the application to allow him to hire from abroad.”

However, Mr Al Absi said the employer was responsible for hiring staff from a country that operates flights to Bahrain, and meet their travel expenses.

“We will be connecting the employer with the employee through the classified advertisements.”

Currently, there are flight restrictions on major labour-exporting countries such as India and Bangladesh.

In June, the labour watchdog launched an online jobs portal, talentportal.bh, aimed at connecting private sector employers with the jobseekers.

More than 3,000 applicants impacted by the pandemic have so far registered for the free service.

“We might use this portal to help employers select the right candidate based on their job requirements,” added Mr Al Absi.

Applicants, including undocumented workers, can enter minimal personal information on the portal, including an e-mail address, with it being optional to post a resume, copies of the smart card, licence or even a photograph.

Once registered, employers can then search based on industry requirements, salary range and years of experience in order to find the best candidate.

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.

He stated that labour fees waiver for three months have not only helped Bahrain’s economy but also provided 45,000 workers with new opportunities despite the global downturn.

An average of 6,000 foreign workers lost their jobs in March and April due to the Covid-19 impact on businesses.

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 have lost their jobs were expats, while 3pc were Bahrainis.

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