Bahrain Extends Freeze on Foreign Worker Fee

Expat Globe

In a move that has been praised by top companies and business groups, Bahrain has agreed to extend a freeze of the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fee for expatriate workers until the end of the year.

The fee was initially suspended in April 2011 in order to provide support and relief to companies affected by the unrest and a weakening global economy.

The Cabinet also announced that Bahrain would undertake a comprehensive study to evaluate long term viability of the fee. The Ministerial Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs will conduct the survey in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The Bahraini Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been tasked with formulating alternative policies to the fee.

The report's conclusions will be submitted to the government in November.

This news will prove popular with the Bahraini expat community as well as the international companies that provide so many of them with employment.

The Arab Spring did not leave Bahrain untouched and the ensuing civil unrest unsettled many expats in the Emirate.

Expats account for over a quarter of the Bahrain population and, after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised British expats to leave the country in March last year, there has been a growing fear that this economically important community could be jeopardized in the long term.