Bahrain announces new labour reforms, to update expat worker permits, increase protection

Proposed set of new labour reforms will replace Flexi Permits and streamline processes involved with registering for work or change of employment



By BNA

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 11:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Oct 2022, 11:40 PM

Bahrain on Wednesday (Oct 5) announced a proposed set of new labour market reforms that will replace Flexi Permits. The changes will increase protections for expatriate workers and streamline processes involved with registering for work or change of employment.

The new measures represent the next step in Bahrain’s strong track record of leading regional reform in this area. In 2017, Bahrain secured Tier-1 Status in the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, which ranks it alongside countries such as France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany across a range of areas.

The Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain announced the proposal in the presence of other leaders and government officials. The reforms, which would be implemented by Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), include:

1.The establishment of new labour registration centres and an online registration portal to increase ease of worker registration.

2.Guaranteed Labour Market Regulatory Authority representation for any disputes between employee and employer.

3.New measures to link work permits to vocational and occupational standards to increase safety and protections in places of work.

Under the reforms, which will be implemented by the Kingdom’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority, inspections to identify employers engaged in illegal activity will be increased to safeguard the rights of employers, workers, and the Kingdom's business community.

The changes will also provide a more robust structure to allow employers to have greater flexibility to pay and source labour, driving growth of the private sector which sits at the heart of the Kingdom’s ongoing development.

In line with these ongoing development efforts, it was also announced today that infrastructure connectivity fees for new builds in areas with pre-existing amenities will be abolished. This change applies to major developments and will significantly reduce costs and encourage growth in the construction sector.

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