*** ----> Bahrain Shura Introduces Fee Cap for Domestic Worker Imports | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain Shura Introduces Fee Cap for Domestic Worker Imports

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Bahrain's Shura Council has enacted a significant amendment aimed at regulating the expenses tied to hiring domestic workers for private residences. With overwhelming support, the amendment sailed through with 29 votes in favour, none against, and 2 abstentions. This move directly tackles the mounting costs of recruitment and management, rectifying a gap in existing legislation that previously lacked a cap on fees for employing domestic workers.

The approved amendments now task the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) with establishing maximum fees for domestic worker recruitment agencies. These caps, meticulously crafted after consultations with relevant stakeholders, will be tailored to each nationality's specific criteria. By imposing these caps, recruitment agencies are prohibited from exceeding the stipulated limits, ensuring fairness for families, resilience for workers, and integrity for businesses.

Moreover, the amendments aim to curb any undue personal gains by strictly forbidding charges beyond the official fees. The increase in fees for importing domestic workers is attributed in part to contractual agreements between Bahrain and the countries providing these workers, exacerbated by the absence of direct relations with some exporting countries.

Concerns were voiced regarding potential security issues and substantial financial losses incurred by Bahraini citizens due to unanticipated work stoppages by domestic workers. Council member Dr. Jihad AlFadhel raised apprehensions about expanding the nations from which Bahrain imports domestic workers, citing concerns over differing values and potential security risks.

Additionally, council member Ali AlHaddad highlighted the significant financial losses faced by Bahraini citizens due to unannounced work stoppages by domestic workers, estimating the losses to exceed BD57 million. Council member Jamal Fakhro emphasized the multifaceted nature of importation costs, cautioning against conflating government agreements with exporting countries and fees determined by service-providing offices.

Fakhro also noted potential queries regarding why importing domestic workers are specifically targeted compared to other services facing less regulation. Chief Legal Consultant Nawfal Ghorbal emphasized the legislation's necessity in addressing these concerns, reinforcing the LMRA's stance on the matter.