Bahrain rejects proposal to ban expats aged over 50

MPs agree that experience of foreign workers in certain sectors is valuable

Bahrain’s Council of Representatives has rejected plans to impose an age cap on expatriates which would have banned foreigners older than 50 from working in the country.

Expats currently hold around 17 per cent of public sector jobs in Bahrain and the age cap was proposed as a way to boost employment for Bahrainis.

Greater employment for nationals is a common theme among the countries of the GCC but the Labour Market Regulatory Authority and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry had already rejected banning expats over 50 from working in the country.

“Such a proposal clashes with international covenants and is not in the interests of Bahrain,” MP Ali Al Aradi, the First Deputy Speaker, told Gulf News. “There are various sectors that do need people with experience and expertise.”

Bahrain already has rules stating that no position should be advertised abroad until it is announced in the local media or checked with the job database at the Civil Service Bureau.

Earlier this year, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa praised the contribution of expatriates to the economic growth of Bahrain and said they were an important part of society.

While more than half of Bahrain’s population is foreign-born, many of those are working in construction or the services sector.

MP Isa Al-Kooheji agreed with his colleague Al Aradi that there are plenty of areas where experience is invaluable. “In some sectors, the older the person gets, the more experienced he or she becomes and the better he or she passes his or her skills to others,” said Al-Kooheji. “I can cite medicine and law, for instance.”