Manpower agencies in Bahrain vow to clean their ranks


The new chairman of the Bahrain Recruiters Society, Fareed Al Mahmeed said that the Ministry had not shown full support to recruiters despite the recruiters’ role in bringing in thousands of needed manpower in the Kingdom.


“We are facing problems because we feel that the ministry is not supporting us,” Al Mahmeed told the Tribune.


He said that the ministry had restricted granting of work permits to the agencies which limited them to taking in only one or two people.


“If they wanted us to do better service then they should lift the restrictions. How can we operate with only one or two staff?,” said Al Mahmeed who runs the Al Mahmeed Services Agency.


“We would need more people in our office, especially translators, to deal with our clients and recruits,” he said.


Al Mahmeed takes over the BRS this month after the society held its elections in late April. He replaces Ali Al Sho’ala.


The society is struggling to keep its membership and put their act together following the changes that swept the recruitments industry over the past year.
He said that they still have 54 members in their roster with more than half of them attending the elections.


He said that the government allowed companies to take in people on their own and this had created problems in the workforce.


The BRS is set to propose to the government to grant them exclusive rights to deal with the hiring of workers in certain fields like construction, hotels and restaurants, cleaning companies, and domestic workers.


On the often thorny issue of the plight of foreign housemaids, the BRS is seeking new dialogue with concerned Asian embassies.


“We wanted to sort out the issues with them and we are ready to speak with the different embassies. We know that we are dealing with human beings here, we are responsible for them and we are also concerned with their conditions,” he said.
“We ourselves will report to the ministry and authorities whenever we find out about some agencies which are engaged in illegal activities,” he said.


The Ministry of Labour, over the past two years, had closed down more than a dozen manpower agencies in a drive to clean the recruitments market.


Al Mahmeed said that the society would implement a monitoring system to check against rogue sponsors and employers who mistreat maids.


“We will also start a system through which we can monitor sponsors who are repeatedly at the receiving ends of complaints. We will keep files on sponsors whom we consider as trouble-makers,” he said.


“We are also defending the housemaids and we are trying our best to solve their problems,” he said.


The BRS also seeks to renegotiate with the Philippine government the $ 400 minimum wage it imposed for their citizens working as domestics.
The issue is expected to be discussed also at an upcoming Gulf-wide conference of major societies of manpower agencies from around the GCC. The BRS will be hosting the conference to be held in Bahrain later this month.


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