By Andrew White
SME chiefs demonstrated outside the parliament building on Tuesday.
A group of Bahraini businessmen that claim they are being forced into bankruptcy as a result of “crippling” labour department fees have taken their fight to parliament.
Around 40 people demonstrated outside the parliament building on Tuesday, according to Bahrain's Gulf Daily News.
The men, all owners of small and medium businesses, said many of them had been forced to close enterprises, and whatever they had left was in default of the BD10 ($26.50) per worker monthly fee.
"We are not in a position to pay the fee any more - we have not been in a position to pay for several months now but no one listens to us," cargo and contracting business owner Waheed Al Yousef told the newspaper.
"Two years ago, before the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) fee was implemented, I had 100 people working for me and we were all very happy and prosperous,” he continued. “Now, I have only 16 left and they too are in dire straits because I am not able to look after them the way I did."
The newspaper added that businessmen were also angry at having to pay BD200 every two years in visa fees for every expatriate employee.
The BD10 monthly fee applies to every expatriate working in Bahrain and has been collected by the LMRA on behalf of the government since July 2008, according to the report.