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Illegal teachers in Bahrain face deportation

Manama, June 16, 2013

Hundreds of expatriate housewives working as teachers in Bahrain could be deported if schools do not have permission to employ them, said a top official.

Inspectors had come across several cases of housewives illegally working as teachers, Ausamah Al Absi, chief executive of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Legal action has already been taken against several educational institutions, as LMRA seeks to close loopholes in the law.

It described the practice of employing teachers on family visas as "rampant" and warned schools were not immune from prosecution.

"We have in the past inspected expatriate schools and there were certain schools, without giving names, who were taken to court and fined in excess of BD50,000 ($130,000)," he said.

Discussions have taken place with foreign embassies, the Education Ministry and schools to emphasise the importance of the LMRA being informed in advance before expatriate wives are recruited.

"We understand the fact considering the special nature of education and there is a requirement of language or knowledge of a special curriculum," said Al Absi.

"We realise all that. We are willing to give special permission for these housewives to legally work in schools. If they approach us we will grant them permission, but the only thing stopping them is that they believe they are immune because they are schools."

Al Absi said in the end it was not the schools that would suffer the most, but expatriate families.

"These housewives who are living on valid dependent family visas are under no illusion that they are doing something illegal," he said. "They are just told they will get away with it. We are going to catch this person and deport her and this will lead to breaking a family unit here.

"The husband and the children will stay here while she will be on a plane. Those caught working illegally will be deported and cannot come back again to Bahrain. I have today cases of families desperately trying to bring back their loved ones who were caught working illegally and deported.

“They are promising they will never do it again. But I cannot do anything in such cases as the law prevents me,” he added.

Al Absi said the problem had been created because schools wanted to avoid paying the application fee of teachers or monthly levy of BD10 for each foreign worker, which had been suspended since 2011.

But he warned schools not to ignore the warning.

"I am here now saying that they do not have immunity," he said. "I once again would stress here that the LMRA is willing to transfer the dependant family visa to a work visa for those housewives working in expatriate schools. When she completes the two-year employment term or is sacked by the school she will be shifted back to the dependent family visa."

LMRA inspectors doubled

Meanwhile, the number of inspectors working at the LMRA as it seeks to crackdown on workers violating the law, has been doubled, said Al Absi.

They have been increased from 36 in 2011 to 70, he added.

"Our inspectors receive extensive training and the total number of inspectors from both genders has reached 70," he said. Al Absi said inspectors were often thwarted in their attempts to carry out their duties.

"People do not understand the role of these inspectors as they run out from their shops when they see them," he said.

"For example, there are certain areas where there are more than a hundred small shops and when our guy wearing his uniform walks in then the other shops are empty as people start running. We cannot help that,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Labour Market Authority |

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