Bahrain will restrict new work permits for foreigners because 50,000 illegal Asian workers have glutted the workforce, the employment minister said in a report on Saturday, August 11.
"The number of illegal Asian workers is more than 50,000," the minister, Abdul Nabi Abdullah Al-Shuala, told the Al-Ayam daily, adding that both legal and illegal Asian workers now take up 60 percent of the local jobs.
"The ministry of employment will stop issuing new work permits to foreigners except in urgent cases where we cannot find Bahraini candidates," he added.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 Bahrainis — most of them young people — are unemployed, accounting for some 20 percent of the active population, according to government figures. The foreign workforce numbers 106,000, twice the 53,000 Bahrainis in work, while foreigners account for 40 percent of the emirate's 700,000 residents.
Bahrain, where a weak economy contributed to sectarian unrest during the 1990s, has recently set its sights on fighting its unemployment problem. Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa in April announced a $65.5 million employment plan that includes training programs. ― (AFP, Manama)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )