The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) announced an increase in the number of inspection visits and joint campaigns by 63.8% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2022, emphasizing on the continuity of intensified inspection campaigns and visits to commercial establishments and markets in coordination with the relevant government agencies.
Nouf Abdulrahman Jamsheer, CEO of the LMRA and Chairperson of the National Committee for Combatting Trafficking in Persons, stressed that developing the labour market and maintaining its ability to keep pace with all economic developments ensures that the market is managed with a high degree of flexibility, justice, and stability.
She added that the authority is keen to implement the National Labour Market Plan 2023-2026, which aims to develop the labour market and ensure its growth and stability, maintain national employment, provide sustainable job opportunities, enhance economic competitiveness, attract foreign direct investments, and raise the effectiveness of the labour market through supervision and regulation.
Jamsheer highlighted that the LMRA continues to strengthen and intensify efforts and procedures to address irregular employment through inspection campaigns in cooperation and coordination with the concerned authorities, especially the Ministry of Interior through its various departments and agencies, to ensure the apprehension of violators and imposing penalties.
She pointed out that 21,334 inspection campaigns and visits were carried out during the period from January to June 2023, an increase of 63.8%, compared to the same period last year, including 21,005 inspection visits carried out by the Enforcement and Protection Sector at the LMRA, in addition to the implementation of 329 joint inspection campaigns in cooperation and coordination with the relevant government agencies.
The increase in joint campaigns during the first half is 291%, up from 84 campaigns in the first half of 2022 to reach 329 campaigns during the first six months of this year.
Jamsheer expressed her appreciation to the government agencies participating in the inspection campaigns, especially the Ministry of Interior and its various departments and agencies; the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA), the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Evidence, the Verdicts enforcement Department, and the governorates’ police directorates. In addition to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), the Ministry of Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs, the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Social Insurance Organization (SIO), the Capital Municipality, and the municipalities of the governorates.
The CEO pointed out that the intensive inspection campaigns resulted in the registering of 1135 criminal violations that were referred to the Public Prosecution in the first half of 2023, an increase of 152% compared to the same period last year, and the percentage of violating workers caught during the inspection campaigns increased by about fourfold, and 2,112 violating foreign workers were deported during this period.
Jamsheer urged employers and workers to abide by the regulations and laws in Bahrain and avoid offences that may expose them to legal accountability, especially repeated violations, most notably working in violation of the terms of the work permit, as the law obliges the foreign worker to practice work at the workplace indicated in the permit or in other branches of the employer that practice the same activity. The employer is also prohibited from employing a foreign worker unless the work permit is issued and the prescribed fees are paid, which are violations that are taken lightly by some.
It is noteworthy that non-compliance with the laws exposes the employer to the penalties, which range from imprisonment for a period of 3 months and not exceeding a year, and a fine of not less than one thousand dinars and not exceeding two thousand dinars, or one of these two penalties, and in the event of recurrence of the offence, the penalty reaches imprisonment for a period of 6 months and not more than two years, and a fine of not less than two thousand dinars and not exceeding four thousand dinars, and violating the conditions for work permits for domestic employees is considered a serious crime calling for double the penalty, and in all cases, the penalty shall be multiplied by the number of workers against whom the crime was committed.
In the event of a conviction, the court may order the suspension of the activity of the convicted person or the closure of the establishment for a period not exceeding one year. If the violation is repeated, the court may order the cancellation of the commercial registration.
With regard to offences by a foreign worker, any foreign worker who engages in any work in the Kingdom without a work permit is punishable by a fine, In the event of a conviction; the court shall order the deportation of the foreigner from Bahrain and ban him from returning for 3 years or permanently.