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MWPS welcomes government initiative to support expat workers

Move will make Bahrain a chosen destination for the migrant workers, says chairperson Mona Almoayyed

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SENIOR businesswoman and Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) chairperson Mona Almoayyed welcomed the government’s joint initiative to offer legal support to ex-pat workers.

She pointed out that this would help many workers, as MWPS statistics reveal 70 percent of its labor complaints account for claims of unfair dismissals.

Ms. Almoayyed also highlighted that 45.9pc of establishments were unable to pay salaries to their employees last year (2022).

Her comments followed the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry announcing its joint initiative to provide legal help for the expatriates in the kingdom.

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“This is indeed wonderful news as we receive many cases of low-income migrant workers and domestic workers being exploited by their sponsors,” said Ms. Almoayyed in a press statement.

“Claims of unfair dismissals accounted for nearly 70pc of all labor complaints. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 45.9pc of establishments could not pay wages to their employees last year, compared with 48.9pc in 2020. Workers often go without pay for months, unable to support themselves and their families back home or to repay the debts they incurred to come to Bahrain. Many of them are left stranded and abandoned in labor camps for over many months while they fight for their due salaries and benefits.”

Ms. Almoayyed noted that the facility at the LMRA for filing cases under the labor law was being provided to the workers but was not available for those who were not able to claim their dues under the labor law.

“It is a commendable move on the part of the authorities to provide access to justice to the registered migrant workers who may face similar problems with their employers. Under the earlier facility, the LMRA was providing support to the migrant workers to file their complaints in the labor court by visiting the Expatriate Protection Unit at Sehla. It was a great support for the non-Arabic speaking migrants as the application to the court was required to be filed in Arabic. Extension of the facility for those workers who are being registered with the approved labor registration centres would go a long way in mitigating their grievances in the event any such incidents arise. This move underlines the eagerness of the Government of Bahrain in ensuring the best working conditions and making Bahrain one of the best destinations for the migrant workers.”

Ms. Almoayyed also recommended that the registered migrant workers are granted an exemption from payment of the court fee when they are filing civil cases for claiming their dues.

The LMRA and its protection and grievances center have teamed up to offer administrative aid to registered workers who wish to file and monitor their civil lawsuits pertaining to their authorized profession. They have created an electronic system for this purpose, which will give applicants access to all the necessary information they require to stay updated on the progress of their case, from its filing to the issuance of the verdict. Additionally, the system will provide a list of registered lawyers who can offer legal advice regarding disputes related to these cases. The LMRA will continue to assist registered workers by handling their civil lawsuits, processing any new requests, such as changes in contact information or submitting relevant documents, and printing statements, decisions, rationales, and judgments. The Justice Ministry will offer technical support to the LMRA in carrying out their duties, and qualified translators will be available as well.

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