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Without a court order an employer has no right to hold employee’s passport whatsoever.
- That practice represents a violation of freedom of movement in contravention of Article (19) (b) of the Constitution, which ensured the freedom of movement of every person on the territory of Bahrain.
- This practice (Although quite common) amounts to criminal misappropriation and breach of trust i.e. the employer got the passport lawfully (In order to process the residency Permit and other formalities etc…) but retained it unlawfully (Without the employee’s consent)
The passport is a personal property, and is to be possessed solely by its rightful bearer / citizen (Also note that most passports clearly mention: That “this passport is the property of the issuing government”, therefore, no other party should be holding it. If the employees demands his passport back and the employer refuses to hand it over (In writing if possible) the employee should first contact his embassy and secondly, raise an urgent case before the court of urgent matters at the ministry of justice (diplomatic area).
Further Comments on this issue:
- Some employers / Managers claim that this is the company’s policy or that they did not receive any official letters about that!
- Claiming ignorance of the law does not relieve the management from its legal responsibility; laws must be followed once they are approved by the officials and published in the official gazette.
- Companies’ internal policies must not contradict with the law, and any policy or practice deemed as illegal must be immediately abandoned.
Disputes between the employee and the employer such as delayed salary, disputes on employment agreement etc.
- If an employee needs to complain against their employer or vise versa for any reason, they should contact the complaints department of the Ministry of Labour in (Isa Town).
If an employer didn't cancel an employee's work visa or residence permit/visa even after the employee has resigned and his resignation had been acknowledged.
- Employers have no gain from such a violation of not cancelling the employee’s RP after his / her resignation; furthermore they will be charged LMRA’s monthly fees on those work visas and they will not be able to get a replacement until they cancel those visas through the system.
- If the employee is in Bahrain and he/she can apply for his mobility (transfer) without the need to cancel the existing permit. For more information about the mobility process, click on the following link: http://portal.lmra.bh/english/download/category/3 to get to the mobility procedure guide.
If an employer is refusing to accept resignation or notice:
- You need to go to the post office and send it as registered mail to the company’s official address (this address must be the same physical address (office address) registered at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, not a PO Box).For details about the registered address can visit : http://www.moic.gov.bh/CReServices/inquiry/newCREnquiry.aspx
Employees' leave entitlements whether weekends and public holidays count or Is leave calculated as calendar days or work days.
- Annual leave entitlements as well as employment agreements between employers and employees are outside LMRA’s jurisdiction. Such entitlements are regulated in chapter (11) of the Labour Act No. (23) (1976). http://www.mol.gov.bh/MOL/En/Legislations/ListLaws.aspx?ChnlNm=Labour%20Law It is to be noted that the leave entitlements are calculated as “work days”.
In case the employer is not paying my Salary / Wage or allowances, etc. on time.
- As indicated earlier: LMRA does not interfere in any matter outside its jurisdiction.
Employees are advised to report this case to the Ministry of Labour which in turn can escalate it to the competent courts of law.
Transfer from visit visa, to work visa:
transfer from visit visa to work visa is possible.
- Please note that Expat should not work or conduct any business in Bahrain without a valid work permit /visa (i.e.: expat cannot start to work for the company while on business or visit visa and until his/her work permit & visa is approved and printed.)
- The company should apply for a normal work visa while the visit visa is still valid (At least for 7 days) – If visit visa has expired or nearly expired, the company must extend it first before applying for the work visa. (Note that people, who have been on a business or visit visa for 30 days or more, must travel out of the country before their application for a work visa can be submitted.)
Charging the employer for the work visa and government related fees from the employee.
The employer is not allowed to charge you with the work permit / visa fees , but they have the right to sue for damages ( As a result of the breach – or premature cancellation of a time-specified contract ).
- It is illegal for any employer to charge the employee any work permit / work visa related expenses, (including LMRA’s monthly fees) - all these fees are definitely the employer’s definitive responsibility (Act No. 19 for 2006). The employer is also responsible for the plane ticket home (Check Articles 23, 27 and 36 of Act No. 19 for 2006).
- Employees should report the legal violations (with supporting documents as evidence) to LMRA as well as lodge a formal complaint at the Ministry of Labour, if employers are forcing them to pay for their work permit / Work Visa and related expenses, then inform LMRA of the MOL’s case number.
- Although the employer is fully responsible for the visa and travel expenses, this does not mean that the employer cannot claim other damages against the employee at the ministry of Labour, or at the court of law (If he wishes to do so) in case the employee did not fulfill his contract terms, resulting in financial losses to the employer.
- Employers can also claim other incurred expenses (not including LMRA fees, ticket or other government expenses) those expenses or losses must be proven by documents. Both the employer and the employee can reach an amicable agreement on that, otherwise this should be submitted as a complaint case at the ministry of Labour or at the court of law only they can decide who is supposed to pay who, and how much is that payment going to be (Without a court resolution or a mutual agreement, this should not be automatically or arbitrarily deducted from the employee’s dues, as the employer may wish to do so!)
Cancelling work visa while the employee on holiday out of Bahrain.
- According to “The Labour Law for the Private Sector, 1976 Promulgated by AMIRI decree no. 23 OF 1976” Articles 106 to 119, it is illegal to terminate a worker’s contract (and subsequently his work permit) while the worker is on leave.
- LMRA also demands that the employer informs the employee before termination takes place, both the employer and the employee need to sign the termination form and it is the employer’s responsibility to upload such form onto the system for each termination application. Those deliberately submitting forged information or signatures will be referred to the public prosecutor.
- If an expat’s visa was cancelled while he/she was out of Bahrain during an approved leave, he/she needs to seek legal assistance in their home country or in Bahrain , in order to submit a formal complaint “unlawful dismissal” at the ministry of labour or file a court case against the employer.
Dependents such as the wife or grown-up children (Age 18+) allowed to work in Bahrain.
- Wives and grown-up children who are on family visa or students’ visa are not supposed to work in Bahrain (without a work permit from the relevant authority) as they are permitted to reside here on the grounds of reuniting the family with the primary expatriate employee.
If they check their RP stamps on their passports they clearly state: "Not permitted to work."
- The law stipulates that each and every foreigner who intends to work in Bahrain must obtain a work permit from the relevant authority. So if a dependant is offered a job, the employer must apply for a proper work visa with the required documents and must transfer that dependant’s family visa to a normal employment visa on the new employer.
- The family visa must be cancelled and the the new employer needs to apply for a work visa, within 5 days of the cancellation. The permitted sectors are (banking and finance, Medical and Educational sectors), Dependents wishing to obtain a work visa in other sectors will have to have an executive occupation (subject to approval from GDNPR)
- *Kindly note that for some older cases in the Education and Medical Sectors , local work permits were issued by the Ministry of Labour for foreign wives married to Bahrainis or non- Bahrainis. In that situation the housewives who already obtained a local work permit from ministry of Labour and currently working in the mentioned sectors shall continue to renew their permits at the ministry of labour until a different process is put in place.
- Working for without the proper Work permit /Work visa is illegal and has serious consequences on both the employee and the employer, please do not work with any company, school or hospital unless they obtain a proper work permit or work visa for you, before you start working.
Working in a different job role other than what’s on the CPR or my work permit
The decisive element in this case, is the work permit. Both employer & employee should not violate the conditions of the work permit (in accordance with article 23 of Act No. 19 for 2006).
Both employer and the employee are restricted and fully prohibited from violating the conditions of the work permit , employers should not assign work or allow the employee to work in any other different job apart from the one mentioned in the valid work permit. If they do that they will be subject to the penalties specified in Article (36) of the same Act. Also note that the CPR card is not a work permit.
Updating the occupation on the system
The employer can simply apply for a change or update of the profession / occupation in the work permit / work visa through LMRA’s EMS system
- Generally rules:
Having a different job title from the actual job role in the CPR was quite common for similar jobs in the past example: “Accountant” and “Tax Accountant” or “General Accountant”
- Please note that there are heavy penalties on both the employer and the employee in case of work permit violations, the responsibility is shared between them and they will both be considered as violators of the law.
- If employees see that their actual job role is different from what is on their work permit, they should ask their employer to correct this situation by applying for occupation change with LMRA, if the employer refuses to do so; employees should report the case to LMRA in order to clear their part.
To get a new or renew a CPR card, amend or change details or address on the CPR card or replace a lost or stolen card:
- CPR’s are under the jurisdiction of the central informatics organisation – CIO.
Visit the following websites for information: http://www.cio.gov.bh or http://www.smartcard.gov.bh.
- Please note that you need to make sure that you have given the employer your residential address at the time of application (or within 30 days after arrival in Bahrain), the employer needs to update this at the CIO’s address department in Isa Town, to avoid delays in CPR card issuance
Verbal or Physical abuse or harassment:
- This does not fall within the jurisdiction of LMRA, as it is an alleged criminal offence.
- If somebody is a witness to or a subject to abuse, harassment or any form of attack he has to report it immediately to the police, it does not matter whether the suspect is the employer or anyone else. We suggest that you contact the nearest Police station to the place where you witnessed the alleged incident, if you need their location or telephone numbers you can find some useful numbers on the Ministry of Interior's website: http://www.interior.gov.bh, or call the Emergency Police Services on 999.
- Foreign employee's enrolment is a Bio-Data collection campaign for all foreign employees working in Bahrain and their family members.
- It is compulsory that all the expatriate employees are enrolled, we need to see them with their original CPR’s and we would take their digital signature and finger prints (Family members also need to be enrolled) Through this process we also make sure their correct details and photographs are captured by our systems. There is no deadline to close the enrolment process but we would try and cover as many as possible before the end of this year.
- This procedure is done because at a later date the smart cards will be issued for all, so we need to have all details in our data base to inform CIO in order to issue the cards at a later stage, it would also help us fight against fraud and passports forgery.
- There are no penalties against the foreign workers if they didn’t enrol, but when our inspectors execute their job and verify the foreigners’ identity they will need more time if the data has not been already recorded in our database, during inspection the foreigner should present his CPR, work visa and all related documents.
- Furthermore, sometimes the inspectors could arrest the foreigner if they can not prove his or her identity and there isn’t any information in LMRA’s data base especially if his or her name closely resembles or matches that’s of an illegal foreigner.
- Right now we are in talks with various companies and organizations especially those with large number of expatriates employees in order to facilitate this process and send our officers to complete the enrolment on the premises; we are also studying the options of opening temporary enrolment centres at different locations until the end of the year. (If approved, the locations will be announced in the newspapers)
- Please note: that the employee enrolment and also company registration are free of charge and would be only done once in a lifetime.
- *Please note that the photographs taken during the enrolment process take some time to reflect on our e-services section of the web site.
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