Drive to target rogue sponsors in Bahrain
Manama, May 10, 2012
A nationwide campaign to prevent employers from confiscating passports of migrant workers and help labourers with suicidal tendencies will be launched soon in Bahrain, said a top official.
It follows a surge of complaints received by the Pakistan Embassy in which sponsors illegally withhold passports of labourers, leaving them helpless, said newly-appointed community welfare officer Maqsood Qadir Shah.
It will also focus on reaching out to workers suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies or runaways to help integrate them into society and attempt to solve their problems.
The embassy will also launch a series of programmes aimed at educating its nationals on local labour laws and to protect them from exploitation.
"We plan to launch this campaign to create awareness among our nationals and also target those Bahraini sponsors who often confiscate passports of their workers," Shah told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"We have invited officials from the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), prominent businessmen, bankers and other top government officials to attend and interact with the community to know their issues and provide solutions."
Embassy officials will also seek co-operation from the Labour and Interior ministries and the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs.
"The campaign will also reinforce the presence of the embassy that it is always there to protect Pakistanis in distress," explained Shah.
"We will not tolerate our nationals being exploited by sponsors and at the same time are against anyone, including Pakistanis, flouting local laws."
According to official statistics, Bahrain hosts a total of 32,000 Pakistanis, which make up five per cent of the expatriate community.
However, Shah dismissed the figures, saying there were more than 50,000 Pakistanis in the country.
He also said that most labourers in the country were illiterate, which creates a major problem as they could not understand requirements of their work visas.
The issue was raised with LMRA chief executive officer Ausamah Abdulla Al Absi during a meeting with Mr Shah and Pakistan Ambassador Jauhar Saleem earlier this week.
"Some of the labourers cannot even read the details of the visa printed on their passports and this is one of the reasons we decided to print and distribute multi-lingual brochures," he said.
"Also, during the meeting the LMRA head decided to provide the Pakistan Embassy online access to some of its services, which will enable us to know about the updated statistics of skilled and semi-skilled workers in Bahrain."
The campaign will also focus on the increasing number of suicides and runaways among Pakistanis. – TradeArabia News Service