By Sarah Townsend
Number reportedly reduced from 60,000 as a result of government campaigns
There are 36,000 illegal expat employees in Bahrain, a drop from around 60,000 six months ago, it was claimed this week.
Ali Al Kooheji, operations vice-president of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) reportedly said during a meeting on Wednesday: “Six months ago, the figure [for illegal expat workers] was around 60,000.
“Through various measures including an amnesty, inspections and awareness campaigns, we were able to bring it down to almost 36,000.”
Al Kooheji added that 3,782 workers have been classed as ‘runaway’, based on the number of formal complaints made by employers.
And a total of 17,000 people registered to work in Bahrain have reportedly left the kingdom.
Al Kooheji was speaking at the third open consultative meeting of the trade and retail sector committee at Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, according to Gulf Daily News.
He said the number of illegal expat workers had been reduced as a result of efforts by regulatory bodies, including the BCCI, and the ministries of interior and labour.
A total of 42,019 expat workers were granted a six-month general amnesty period during which they could amend their status. This ended on December 31.
The newspaper said 76 percent opted to change their visa status to stay in Bahrain.
The amnesty did not cover those who had court cases against them – including travel bans for outstanding debts – or foreigners who overstayed their visit visas, it added.