Cairo: Bahrain’s Ministry of Works and Municipality Affairs plans to replace its foreign employees with citizens by 2024, a senior official was quoted by local media as disclosing.
Around 446 foreigners are currently working at the ministry, accounting for some 17 per cent of its overall workforce, Minister of Works and Municipality Affairs Essam Khalaf told parliament.
The total cost of their employment, housing and transport allowances as well as air tickets and their families ‘accommodation over the past two years has been BD17 million, he added.
“As part of the ministry’s efforts to Bahrainise jobs, it has terminated contracts of 49 foreign employees since 2018,” the official said.
Foreigners account for more than half of Bahrain’s 1.7 million population.
Bahrain has recently stepped up a drive to replace expatriates with citizens in jobs amid calls for prioritising the Bahrainis’ employment.
In October, a Bahraini parliamentary committee approved a draft bill obliging employers to give job preferences to citizens as the kingdom is seeking to replace expatriates in work.
The draft commits employers to check records of Bahraini job-seekers and hire the qualified citizens. Failure to comply with the regulations will be punishable by a fine ranging from BD5,000 to 20,000.