What is the change? The Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) recently announced new labor market testing process details for employers in Bahrain.

What does the change mean? Some delay is to be expected for employers applying for new work permits for foreign nationals outside Bahrain because of the new process.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers and work permit applicants, both out-of-country and in-country.
  • Impact on processing times: The new labor market testing requirements could increase the time it takes to obtain a work permit because employers will have to wait 14 days and have their job vacancies posted in a local newspaper before they can lodge work permit applications.
  • Business impact: Employers in Bahrain might find the process of hiring foreign nationals more challenging.

Background: Bahrain announced in late July it would begin accepting applications for new work permits for foreign nationals Aug. 9. The issuance of new work permits was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional information: Requests for new work permit applications for foreign nationals outside the country will be delayed for 14 days to give local candidates (citizens and residents) a chance to apply for the position. Employers are required to post available job vacancies in local government-approved newspapers for seven days. The newspaper job postings must mention the job position, company name and email and telephone number listed in the LMRA system.

The Labor Market Regulatory Authority will publish the job vacancies for employers. The cost per job posting will be 30 Bahraini Dinars or about $US79.57. Employers are allowed to choose from among these newspapers for their job postings: Al Ayam, Akhbar Alkhaleej, Al Bilad, Al Watan, Gulf Daily News and the Bahrain Daily Tribune. Employers who choose to select a preferred newspaper for publishing their available job vacancies are required to do so within one hour of submitting a new work permit application for a foreign national outside the country. They can submit an electronic ticket through the E-Support system.

If the employer is unable to find a suitable worker from the resident labor market the work permit application will proceed. Authorities do not require the employer to submit any reports or feedback after the advertisement of the job vacancy in the local newspaper. Further information is available on the LMRA website.

Analysis & Comments: The objective of the new process is to ensure citizens and residents who are currently in Bahrain have ample opportunities to apply for new local job vacancies. Employers should take note of the new labor market testing process and follow it. They may expect delays when applying for new work permit applications for foreign nationals outside Bahrain. Employers are encouraged to work with Deloitte to ensure they remain in compliance with the new requirements.

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