Oman and Saudi have placed restrictions on expat employment in certain economic sectors to reduce local unemployment rates
Bahrain will not echo decisions by Saudi Arabia to limit expat employment and reserve jobs or professions for nationals only, an official with its labour affairs ministry has said.
Speaking with Bahrani daily, Al Ayam, the country’s Undersecretary for Labour and Social Development Affairs, Sabah Al Dossary, said that the Bahraini economy depended on competitiveness in its labour market to drive employment.
Bahrain’s training programme for nationals was created “to enable them to compete with foreign workers… and make Bahraini workers the best choice for companies and institutions,” he was quoted to say.
“There is an accepted disparity between Bahraini and foreign workers, but if Bahraini employees become threatened and there is dominance and control of foreigners, there will be a different look and treatment in this matter,” he added.
A number of countries in the Gulf have introduced regulations reserving professions or employment in various sectors to counter growing resentment as high rates of youth unemployment among nationals continue to prevail.
In January, Oman temporarily suspended issuing expats work permits for six months in 87 job categories including human resources, information technology, healthcare, and sales after youths voiced anger at the country’s Ministry of Manpower, demanding incentives or employment.
Approximately 60,000 university graduates are looking for employment according to the Ministry, and the government has pledged to create 25,000 jobs for its nationals by May this year.
Saudi Arabia, a country with over 20 million nationals, roughly half of whom are under 25, has a youth unemployment rate that hovered close to 33 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to statistics from the country’s General Authority of Statistics.
In January, it also introduced new regulations restricting expats from working in the retail of twelve economic sectors as a way to boost unemployment.