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 OFWs in Bahrain to benefit from new sponsorship rule

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PostSubject: OFWs in Bahrain to benefit from new sponsorship rule   Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:41 pm

Some 40,000 Filipinos working in Bahrain will be among the main beneficiaries of a decision by the Bahrain government to ease sponsorship rules for them, a report said Saturday.

To help make the 40,000 Filipino workers in Bahrain aware of the new policy, yhe Philippine Embassy is preparing an awareness campaign, said online news site Khaleej Times (www.khaleejtimes.com).

Charge d'áffaires Jose Dela Rosa Burgos said that with the Bahrain government's decision, foreign workers can change jobs without no-objection certificates (NoC) from their employers.

The Bahraini government, which announced the decision in May, will stick to its August 1 schedule for the implementation of the new labor rule, despite objections from the business community.

Bahrain Labor Undersecretary Jameel Humadan said decision did not mean completely abolishing sponsorship, but expatriate workers would now have rights to change employers without much ado.

Humadan said implementing the clause in the Labor Market Regulatory Law would improve Bahrain’s image in the international community.

“The right of expatriate workers to shift jobs without no-objection letters from their employers is part of the clause in the Labor Market Regulatory Law that had been in effect since last year. We gave enough grace period for the decision to be implemented," he added.

The government went ahead with the plan after a committee comprising representatives from the public and private sectors failed to agree on Bahrain’s commitments to international labor laws, and protecting the rights of business owners.

Bahrain’s lead could also extend to Filipinos and other nationalities elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula should other countries hosting foreign workers would follow suit.

The Indian Embassy, which has the largest number of foreign workers in Bahrain estimated at 300,000, also said it will alert its citizens already there or those who plan to arrive about the new rule.

Indian Embassy First Secretary Ajay Kumar said the focus would be on Indians coming to Bahrain as they would not know much about labor market situations there.

“The embassy appreciates the role of the Bahrain’s government to offer more rights to foreign workers and we will continue to help the country and our community towards improving the labor market," he said.

The Pakistani Embassy said the new rule would ensure 30,000 of its workers would not be exploited.

“There is no chance for some companies to cheat workers if we inform them before joining about the new privilege of shifting jobs without the permission of sponsors," said the embassy’s first secretary, Mohammed Saleem. - GMANews.TV
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