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Thu 19 Apr 2007 02:28 PM

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Employee sponsorship controls must end

Bahrain government official calls for an end to employee sponsorship regulations in the GCC.

The system of sponsorship for expatriate workers will have to be abandoned "sooner or later" according to a senior official from Bahrain speaking at a Doha conference yesterday.

Qatar daily newspaper The Peninsula reported that Jamil Humaidan, Under-secretary at the Ministry of Manpower in Bahrain, told the conference that companies need to work to become attractive places to work, rather than relying on "controlling" their workers by restricting their ability to switch jobs.

The remarks drew heated criticism from the floor of the conference where the Under-secretary was charged with making employers lives more difficult. Maintaining control through the use of visas and sponsorship is a vital business tool, one delegate asserted.

The delegate went as far as suggesting that he preferred employing expatriates to nationals because he could not prevent nationals jumping jobs.

His comments were dismissed by Humaidan as out of touch with reality. The solution to retaining a productive workforce is to provide better working conditions, he said.

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