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Agricultural Sector Being Pushed to Employ More Bahrain Nationals

Bahrain : 08 November 2010

Yesterday a new labour market push was introduced, designed to create more employment for Bahrain nationals in the agricultural industry.  Plans are in place for quotas with regards to nationals and caps on work visas.

The LMRA (Labour Market Regulatory Authority) has initiated the drive supported by the BCCI (Bahrain’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

It is hoped that changes will create a stronger link between qualified Bahrain national labourers and the businesses in need of employees, strengthening the labour market.

The BCCI hosted a meeting yesterday to investigate the nationalization plan within Bahrain focusing on the agricultural industry and how implementation can assure increases within this sector.

The meeting was conducted jointly by Nedhal Al Bana, head of policy development at LMRA, and Ibrahim Abdali Al Daaysi, board member at BCCI.

Al Bana noted that each establishment within this sector will be required to follow quotas and administer forms allowing progress checks and analysis of their rate of nationalization.

Forms will include information on the makeup of staff, comparing Bahrain nationals, non-nationals and disabled Bahraini.  These figures will allow companies to monitor the improvement made in these ratios over the course of time.

An official noted that the public will be able to access these forms and an official analysis of each firm’s rate of nationalization will be done after the first year has passed.

Currently, the ratio stands at 20 to 45 when comparing Bahraini workers to non-Bahraini employees.  These figures were supplied by the national commercial register, according to Al Bana.

It is the aim of this recent push to increase the amount of Bahraini labourers from 20 per cent of the workforce to 40 per cent.

The structure of each company within the sector will be altered using the quotas and form requirements, allowing the industry to work with these establishments to create more job opportunities for nationals in Bahrain.

Unskilled Bahrain nationals will have access to extensive training programs, ensuring they acquire the highest qualifications necessary for working within this sector.

Training programs will be tiered into stages and designed to be of maximum benefit to the nation’s economy as a whole, as well as to national workers, stated Mr. Al Daaysi.

There are four levels of training, including class and computer applications geared towards a specific expertise, that are undertaken before a citizen of Bahrain is considered skilled.

This training then results in a more consistent level of wages for Bahrainis who work within the national system and invest their skills and income back into the country, according to Al Daaysi.

Foreign workers are currently employed in the agricultural industry within horticulture and landscape design, as well as working with crops, fruits and vegetables and livestock.

There is a plan in place to employ limitations to the issuance of foreign visas within a variety of professions with the intent to create more opportunities for Bahrain nationals.

Mr. Al Daaysi stated that there needs to be an agreement between the BCCI and the agricultural industry outlining their commitment to increase the number of national workers and follow limitations on the amount of foreign workers in this sector.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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