• Melo Acuna

Bahrain to deport illegal workers

Filipino workers stand to benefit from Bahrain’s flexi work permit

MANILA – Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III welcomed Bahrain’s decision to implement Flexi Work Permit to migrants beginning this month.

In a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Manama, it was learned the Arab state reinforced its work permit system to curb the mounting number of illegal migrant workers which ended in abuses committed by certain individuals.

Secretary Bello, in a statement released by Malacanang, said the new policy will provide additional protection to over a thousand overseas Filipinos in Bahrain who are in possession of this kind of visa.

Hana AL Safar, communications director of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority(LMRA) in Bahrain said the new policy provides for intensified inspection on foreign workers to ensure that they are not involved in the practice of professions or engaged in occupations they are not allowed to do. The jobs include car washing, street vending or operate business among others.

Labor Secretary Bello said under the new policy, regular inspections will be conducted on manpower agencies to ensure they are legitimate ad duly licensed and not engaged in unscrupulous hiring of run-away household service workers (HSWs) to provide hourly cleaning services to families, posing high health risks to both workers and clients.

Manpower agencies who are found violating the flexi permit guidelines will be denied permission to regularize their status, face deportation, and barred from re-entry to the Arabian state.

Al Absi, LMRA CEO said runaway workers cannot be granted Flexi Permit and neither can they transfer employers and resume work with their current employers. If they are discovered by authorities to have been absent for more than 15 days sans prior notice, they lose their change to regularize their status and face deportation soonest.

To guarantee service quality and competitiveness, Al Safar said a special committee has been formed with representation from different government agencies to prepare the criteria and professional standards and qualifications for the practice of 20 identified professions.

According to the report furnished by Bahrain-based POLO, the flexible work permit was first launched in 2017 to address the growing number of undocumented workers in Bahrain said to be 55,000 to date where 2,280 are Filipinos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said there are 55,790 Filipinos in the oil-rich country. (Melo M. Acuña)

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III (Screen grab from midday Malacanang Press Conference hosted by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque/PTV4-RTVM)

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