Cairo: Around 53,000 illegal expatriates have “rectified” their status in Bahrain amid a drop in foreign employment rates in the country, a senior Bahraini official has disclosed.
“The situation of 53,000 foreign workers has been rectified, while 5,155 others have left of their own free will,” Bahraini Minister of Labour and Social Development Jameel Humaidan told the Council of Representatives in a debate about illegal workers.
Foreigners account for more than half of Bahrain’s 1.7 million population.
Humaidan revealed that migrant workers in Bahrain have dropped by 3.1 per cent during the COVID-19 crisis while national employees have grown by 2.4 per cent this year.
Bahrain has set up a committee led by the Interior Ministry to deport surplus migrant labourers who harm national economy and security or national employees, he said, according to Al Watan newspaper.
“We want to curtail foreigners at the labour market to eliminate any harmful or security effects and preserve employment preference for Bahrainis. You’ll hear good news soon and supportive measures,” he added without elaborating.
“The government has encouraged correcting the status of irregular labour because having them without income, work or inability to leave the country [due to travel restrictions] represents a health, security and livelihood challenge to Bahrain,” Humaidan added.
“We are studying new conditions whereby the foreign worker cannot compete with the Bahraini and we are working to set specifications for the required vocations,” he added.
Like other Gulf countries, Bahrain is adopting an employment policy encouraging replacing foreigners with citizens.