New panel set up to monitor jobs push

A NEW parliamentary committtee has been constituted to follow up Bahrainisation in the private and public sectors.

The committee – formed yesterday following a unanimous vote – will review all government mechanisms and procedures to replace expatriates with capable Bahrainis in all fields.

It is set to start work immediately, with plans to visit and meet all ministries and responsible government bodies.

MPs also unanimously approved amendments to the 2010 Civil Service Law that would give expats a maximum two-year contract in government jobs. The permit will be renewed only if no local candidate comes forward for the job.

They, however, postponed a debate on a new national employment law owing to shortage of time. The proposed legislation was presented by five MPs led by Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee chairman Ahmed Al Salloom.

It states that all jobs in government and state-owned companies, as well as firms with 50 per cent or more government contribution, should be reserved exclusively for Bahrainis.

However, if the Labour and Social Development Ministry’s Jobs Bank or the Civil Service Commission’s applicants’ database include no qualified Bahrainis for the role, temporary contracts could be offered to expats.

The Shura Council had rejected a similar legislation for Bahraini-only jobs during its session on Sunday.


Parliament first vice-chairman Abdulnabi Salman said unemployment issues have been on legislators’ radar since 2002.

“Job opportunities are a major issue and the National Assembly has been discussing it for years,” Mr Al Salman said.

“People are outraged because they hear Bahrainis are a priority, but they see other things happening in reality.”

Dr Al Salman said the term rare specialisations was being used wrongfully

to recruit expats.

“Expats are taking up jobs as drivers, watchmen, engineers and doctors, are these professions rare?” he asked.

“There are 3,000 expat doctors and from my assessment, they cannot even be classified as juniors.

“The only rare specialisation, in my opinion, is space science and Bahrainis are interested in it. And yet, the Shura Council rejects anything that priorities Bahrainis.”

Dr Hisham Al Asheeri claimed that Shura members were backing businessmen and disregarding public interest.

“Shura is a graveyard for proposals and legislations that prioritises Bahrainisation. The members only believe businessmen and support their plans,” Mr Al Asheeri said.

“Bahrainis are distressed because they don’t believe they are the first choice for employers. The evidence is the unemployment rates over the past 18 years.

“Hopefully, the new committee will address the issue.

“People want real solutions that would see 7,000 expats replaced in public jobs besides thousands of others in the private sector.”

The same sentiments were brought up during discussions on the draft reply to His Majesty King Hamad’s address at the opening of the fourth session of the fifth legislative term last month. The reply was approved unanimously and will be submitted to the King at a later date.

Meanwhile, MPs also approved a probe into national carrier Gulf Air over alleged contract irregularities and unfair dismissals, as well as its employment policies and levels of Bahrainisation.

They also voted unanimously for an investigation into alleged mismanagement of religious funds and assets worth millions of dinars at the Jaffari Waqf (Endowments) Directorate.

All other listed topics have been postponed until next week as the session had to end by 3pm in line with instructions by the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus.

Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf and other senior government officials were present during the session to give feedback on multiple legislations.

A unanimous retrospective approval vote on a royal decree to establish the Prince Salman Medal for Medical Merit issued by His Majesty during legislative recess was also held. The legislation will be reviewed by the Shura Council.




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