The abduction of the Bahraini businessperson

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LMRA BahrainI thought that come July 1st, Bahraini companies could hire and fire at will – well, within reason – and essentially hire whom they need to grow, rather than who are foisted upon them simply to make their quota with Bahraini workers. Well, I think I might have been mistaken:

Come July 1, employers in Bahrain would have to recruit two Bahrainis for each five expatriates or risk facing action, including termination or rejection of work permits.

The move under the Labour Market Regulatory Law focuses on empowering Bahrainis in the labour market through the implementation of an advance system that rejects work permits of companies that do not employ the required number of Bahraini workers.

The Executive Chairman of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), Ali Radhi, said that the law would also ban termination or suspension of services of Bahrainis without valid reasons.
Khaleej Times

What’s going on here? Where did all the talk of a “free labour market” go? Now employers have even more limits than the era before the LMRA? Or have I completely missed the plot here?

I understood that as long as you pay the LMRA imposed taxes, you could hire whomever you want! What the linked article suggests is contrary to that, in fact it goes even further in not only limiting the number of people you want to employ by paying the required fees, but you’ve got to do that AND hire 40% of your workforce as Bahrainis, regardless – it seems – of what they know and if you actually need them.

  • MBC
    2 July 2008

    I think it is just a temporary solution. They just want to reduce the number of unemployed Bahrainis, especially university graduates. This way the the government would pay less to those people who are registered under the unemployment insurance. Therefore, they would get a bigger piece out of the 1% that they take from the employees.

    Anyway I think it is a wise move after all. (at least until I find a job :P) Many businessmen will condemn such a decision because it is a fact that a large portion of Bahrainis are less productive than people of other nationalities. In Addition, Non-Bahrainis are much cheaper than Bahraini labors (mostly), which is another reason for refusing the decision.

    Finally, if one believes in the conspiracy theory, would he question if this move is aimed at people who own small or medium businesses to make them weaker?!

  • mahmood
    2 July 2008

    Well, I’m looking for IT staff! Call me.

  • Anonny
    3 July 2008

    it is a fact that a large portion of Bahrainis are less productive than people of other nationalities.

    Man, the flack I got on this forum for saying something of this nature and in a much more mild way! I don’t even accept it as a “fact”. I guess some of us just better shut up, eh?

  • mahmood
    3 July 2008

    bigger fish to fry at the moment… we might come back to it. But for your benefit, I grilled someone who said a similar thing last night, so I’m a bit tired of repeating myself!

  • Fahad10
    5 July 2008

    Well for me, this LMRA crap makes things worse. Out of the experience and what I’ve seen in the Bahraini workplace (since 2001 when i started working) is that only 10% (maybe up to 20% in some places) of Bahraini employees in a typical company are really productive (even more productive than Westerners). It’s a sad fact but the average 20-something Bahraini just wishes to get good money and slacks a bit in their job (i.e. when will it hit 7pm so I could leave? Wow, vacations galore this month! yes! I deserve ‘this’ or ‘that’ more than ‘him’ ‘her’, I dont deserve a warning! I am Bahraini and honest! shame! crap like that etc…) Only 2 out of 10 in private companies REALLY care to better themselves, and I think it’s a mistake SQUARELY on the parents themselves the A$$holes who bring their kid through school with C-grades and are happy with it, ones who take their kids to the easiest colleges in Bahrain who stupidly give them a degree for ‘just showing up in class’ and we know these universities, but hell no one is locking those owners of those universities up, are they? Anyway, I will ALWAYS doubt the credibility and productivity of a Bahraini more than expatriates who know the worthiness of success and failure, they know that YOU NEED TO SHOW UP AT 8AM, religiously passionate in their work, and make sales of 30 accounts-per-month or you’re screwed with no salary to pay credit cards and your car etc.. All because of their slacking parents and academic schools/univ’s that they go to and this is the product.. Call me in 5 years or so when I hope the current generation of 30-40-somethings realize how tough the world is and succeed finally in fixing the mistakes the parents put them through in the first place in their children. I’m doing that with my son 1-day-at-a-time. Then Bahrain will enter a turning point!

    Either we teach people the hard way (dont get a job until you’re truly worth it) or we give them degrees and thank them for their efforts and let them sit in offices simply for the honor and respect that they have a ‘job’. Idiots.

    sorry for venting off there but it’s smack right in the face reality i see every day when i go to work.

    As for LMRA, i will ready my lawyer to sue the a$$es at the LMRA for loss of productivity/image. All companies out there, be sure you correct/set your KPI’s, and measure the company before and after the law comes into effect. It’s a pain but what the hell, we gotta prove to them that WE need to have a choice in the way we choose our people to work with!

  • Hamad83
    6 July 2008

    I was there last Thursday for maybe 3 hours just to finish a small issue related to my company and i swear to god that the LMRA staff have no idea what there doing out there, everybody is last. i ask a question to any one of the staff and everyone gives me a different answer. i think this A$$holes LMRA people have a Mission and Values to make people who own small or medium businesses to make them weaker.

  • Reply to that idiot
    9 July 2008

    Arguments are good only if you have a valid reason…
    What is terms you are speaking of Productivity? (Seems Like a Nicer word to use these days instead of “They Do Not want to work”)

    Did U do your research?…and Some sampling?…offcourse Non!!

    If so then how do you measure productivity?..So Bahrainis are JUST Born Thick?…or Just Lazy?…what sort of a
    and If bahrainis Do Not want to work…why don’t u pay Indians Much More?…say if Bahrainis are 25% productive as Indians…then U should pay Indians 4 times…Right?…well why is that Not happening?…I wonder how the So Called Business Man feels about this?
    So do your Home work!!

  • Loki
    9 July 2008

    Having worked in one of Bahrain’s big five. I’ve seen some seriously productive people there. naturally most of the company was Bahrainis. I’ve also seen some parts of the company that was the exact opposite (like one poster said, people expected credited for showing up and using up oxygen), these people have the words “its not part of my job” branded into their brains, unfortunately.

    Some of the blame for this has to go to the people that hire them and the people that manage and train them.

    On the actual topic I’m a bit confused by the LMRA now. Lack of clarity from them. bad all round.

  • SR
    9 July 2008

    LMRA looks like a Govt backed company inspired by a famous German national (I am not a racist , you can guess who)
    How one earth you can impose which workforce you should be hiring for your business ? Will LMRA pay me back if the bahrainis I will hire will not perform ? Will LMRA find the suitable people (if there are ) for my business if I want to hire ? Consider the case if I want to hire a Bahraini and I am not lucky to get a suitable one then what happens ? Will I be able to sue LMRA? I am considering the legal action but I am not sure whether it will backfire me or not..

    Thankfully my business can sustain over the internet, I am thinking to relocate my more workforce into some other country possibly India (for cheap labour and consistent laws) and will use Bahrain as a business development office !! Imagine the loss Bahrani’s economy is going to have if bigger companies think the same way. my 35 employees are going to locate to india which means minimium 25,000 BHD are not spent in Bahrain !!
    I can wish luck to LMRA.. I dont care the rules they are coming up with. I rather concentrate to build my backoffice.. Mahmood thanks for giving us a platform to speak our mind.. honestly until this rules are clear.. I dont think its a good story for us in Bahrain.

  • Sam
    9 July 2008

    All this nationality branding is doing my head in!

    You’d think we’re discussing frozen hot dogs!

  • Bonny Mascarenhas
    12 July 2008

    hey all,

    i was reading all the stuff u guys have written up there… would u’ll like me to put it in print.

    If yes let me know any other doubts and questions u have for the LMRA… (also let me know if you want to be named or not).

    will try to get answers if possible.

    guess it will help put your grievances to them and to others concerned…


    FYI… oh an i am an expatriate, so according to the two schools of thought here – i guess i’m a hard worker… or probably taking up one of the slots a bahraini could fill…


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