The Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) of the Kingdom of Bahrain announced that it has resumed the recruitment of domestic workers on Monday, September 14, lifting the temporary suspension last March due to COVID-19 pandemic, the labor department said yesterday.
It said the announcement was made a month after the renewal of the issuance of work permits of expatriate skilled workers last August 9.
In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Bahrain also said Filipino workers are preferred by most employers in the kingdom in reopening their doors to migrant workers.
POLO said the LRMA has warned would-be employers of migrant domestic workers to refrain from engaging the services of unlicensed domestic expatriate employees employment offices (DEEEOs) in hiring domestic workers.
This is to ensure that mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19 are strictly followed and workers’ rights are upheld and protected, POLO Bahrain said.
The warning came after 61 manpower agencies were recently questioned in a series of raids jointly conducted by LMRA and the Interior Ministry, where said agencies were found to have been operating without license and were hiring run-away domestic workers of various nationalities, to provide hourly cleaning services.
LMRA’s Preventive Inspection Director Ahmed Junaid said these rogue manpower agencies move domestic workers from one household to another, posing a major threat to the spread of COVID-19 virus, prompting the government of Bahrain to take legal action against these erring agencies and their employees.
According to Junaid, the shortage in the supply of domestic workers in Bahrain lured some to abscond and renege on their employment contracts, that caused the proliferation of hourly-paid cleaning services in Bahrain.
Based on the January-June 2020 Report of Congress to POLO–Bahrain, the number of Filipino domestic workers in the Kingdom dropped abruptly by 9%. From 18,663 domestic workers in 2019, only 16,576 remained as of June 2020.
As verified by the number of recruitment documents submitted to POLO-Bahrain for processing, recruitment agencies expect that the huge gap in the demand specifically for domestic workers, will be filled up by Filipino workers.
Junaid said recruitment agencies made random interviews among employers in Bahrain where Filipino workers emerged as most preferred over migrant workers from other countries.