Bahraini employers will be jailed for two years and blacklisted from hiring foreigners if they use illegal workers under tough new punishments to be brought in.
Bosses also would be fined up to BD4000 ($10,600), while anyone caught sheltering an illegal worker would be prosecuted, Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan said, according to Gulf Daily News.
"We have increased inspections through joint teams comprising Labour Market Regulatory Authority inspectors and policemen, but greedy people continue to just think about making money," Humaidan reportedly said.
"Unfortunately, some believe what they are doing is right and that's why we are not able to contain the situation as it is, despite the number (of people ‘running away’ from their employer) dropping."
More than half of Bahrain’s working population are foreigners, which is lower than other Gulf states but still significant.
Its tougher stance on illegal workers is in line with neighbours such as Saudi Arabia, which last year saw 1m foreigners leave under an amnesty, and Kuwait, which has vowed to half its expat population, which presently makes up two-thirds.