Employment among Bahrainis increased during the height of the unrest, according to a new report from the kingdom’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).
A total of 141,263 were in work between January and April, an increase of 2.1 per cent compared with the same period last year, figures released by LMRA show.
Wages of Bahrainis have also risen with the average salary now BD330 ($875), it said in its first quarterly report.
The LMRA said median wages (a comparison of the highest and lowest salaries) of Bahrainis reached BD449, an increase of 2 per cent, compared to the same period last year.
Its report said the median wage of Bahrainis in the private sector also continued to rise with an annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent to reach BD337. “Bahraini employment has continued to increase for the third quarter in a row, to reach 141,263 by end of April, representing an increase of 2.1 per cent,” it said.
“While the number of Bahrainis in employment increased, total employment decreased to reach 594,925 workers, with non-Bahraini employment also falling by 0.4 per cent, to reach 453,661.”
The report said the number of visas issued to workers by the LMRA also decreased by 8.2 per cent, compared to the same quarter last year, while the share of visas for small organisations (employing less than 10 workers) remained unchanged at 39.3 per cent.
The total number of visas issued by LMRA during the first quarter of the year was 29,370, of which 22,929 were for workers, 117 for investors, 1,300 for temporary workers and 5,024 for dependents.
The number of visas issued during the same period last year was 33,021. The total number of visa renewals decreased 19.2 per cent to 41,265, of which 30,532 were for workers, 219 for investors, 217 for temporary workers and 10,297 for dependents.
A total of 20,421 visas were cancelled, of which 17,630 involved workers, seven investors, 716 temporary workers and 2,068 for dependents.
“The economic sector with the highest number of new work visas for regular workers was construction (36.3 per cent), followed by wholesale and retail trade (20.1 per cent), and manufacturing (13.0 per cent),” said the report.
It stated 4,271 foreign workers changed employers during the period.
“The construction, hotels and restaurants, and transport, storage and communications sectors had the highest shares of mobility transactions representing 41 per cent of total,” said the report.
It added the gap between the salaries of Bahrainis and expatriates reached BD241, an increase of BD10 compared to the same quarter last year.