Bahrain brings back expat worker levy after two year freeze

Published:  28 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas
Public and private companies in Bahrain are to be forced to pay the formerly frozen expat worker levy from next Sunday, 1 September.

The levy, due on each foreign worker employed, was frozen in 2011 to help businesses struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crash. The tax, collected by the Bahrain Labour Market Regulatory Authority, stands at US$26 for each foreign worker employed, although SMEs employing fewer than five foreigners will pay half the amount per worker.

Bahrain’s Labour Minister, Jameel Humaiden, told the media that officials are now fully prepared to begin collecting the tax from the beginning of September. He added that fees collected would be put towards the training of the Bahraini workforce and the creating of extra job opportunities, thus strengthening the economy and reducing reliance on an overseas workforce.

According to Humaiden, details of all foreign workers are registered and recorded in LRMA’s database along with the 49,000 commercial registrations in the country. Businesses unable or unwilling to pay the levy will have their labour requirements halted and no visa will be granted for foreign workers until the amount due is paid.

and small traders are unhappy about the reinstatement of the levy, and have taken part in protests since the news broke. Many SMES, according to protest leaders, are still struggling to stay in business as the economy is not improving fast enough.
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