Helping hand for 45,000 workers

More than 45,000 workers have benefited from fee waivers as part of Team Bahrain’s efforts to protect the economy and contain the Covid-19 pandemic, it was revealed yesterday.

Labour fees waiver for three months have not only helped Bahrain’s economy but also provided 45,000 workers with new opportunities despite the global downturn, says Labour Market Regulatory Authority chief executive Ausamah Al Absi.

The government’s top priority throughout the pandemic has been the protection of every citizen and resident, he wrote in an opinion piece published in Arab News.

“This fact has been clearly demonstrated by the holistic care and support extended to the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who call the kingdom home. Each of them plays an essential role in driving Bahrain’s diverse economy forward, from nursing to construction and logistics, and the government is committed to honouring their efforts in this challenging time.”

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, has led the way in Bahrain, he said.

“From sharing preventative World Health Organisation-approved guidelines and respecting public health precautions to caring for those affected, he has stressed that we are all one team in response to this outbreak. Together, and regardless of background, we are all on ‘Team Bahrain’.”

He underlined the “consistent” and “balanced” national efforts to combat the virus which has paid off and has reflected on the high testing and recovery rates.

“Bahrain handled the situation in a proactive way, especially the level of involvement of the leadership from a very early stage is noteworthy,” Mr Al Absi said.

Bahrain has conducted almost 700,000 tests for Covid-19, giving it one of the highest rates of testing per 1,000 people in the world, he said.

“When a case is discovered, immediate medical treatment is provided free of charge. Furthermore, free hot meals are delivered daily to all foreign workers placed in government-mandated home quarantine, with more than 250,000 meals provided so far,” he said.

“The impact the pandemic has had on the global economy has been profound, and governments around the world need to respond in a flexible and responsible manner. Soon after the Finance and National Economy Ministry launched its comprehensive economic stimulus package to support businesses and individuals during this time, the LMRA announced it would support the private sector by mandating a three-month moratorium on all work permit issuance and renewal fees, as well as monthly fees.

“This was followed by a further three months of reduced fees, which has helped stimulate the economy and provided 45,000 workers with new opportunities for work despite the global economic downturn.

“The government has also established a comprehensive public health and social welfare protocol to ensure migrant workers are protected. This includes directing all employers to provide masks and conduct temperature testing at worksites, and the launch of a comprehensive public awareness campaign that includes direct text messages across multiple languages,” Mr Absi said.

“In fact, the kingdom has already circulated more than 900,000 multilingual public health awareness pamphlets, ensuring every segment of Bahrain’s diverse community understands the role they play in virus mitigation efforts.

“We have introduced a nine-month amnesty period to allow anyone living in Bahrain without the proper permits to regularise their status or return home without legal consequence.”




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