Bahrain backflips over Bangladeshi blacklist

Bahrain has watered down its threat to ban Bangladeshis from the kingdom, easing concerns of construction companies over labour scarcity.

The jobs of Bangladeshi construction workers now working in Bahrain appear safe.
The jobs of Bangladeshi construction workers now working in Bahrain appear safe.

Bahrain has watered down its threat to ban Bangladeshis from the kingdom, easing concerns of construction companies over labour scarcity.

The Interior Ministry said a ban on work permits would only affect Bangladeshis who applied for work visas after May 27.

The estimated 100,000 Bangladeshis already employed in Bahrain would not be affected.

Yousif Al-Ghatam, under-secretary at the Interior Ministry, said resident Bangladeshis and their families would be exempt from the ban, as well as those changing companies inside Bahrain. Businessmen travelling to Bahrain on visit visas, or qualified professionals would not be affected.

David Hendrie, project director of the Bahrain City Centre project, welcomed any move to dilute a total ban, and said his firm and other construction companies did not support moves that targeted every person from a country.

"We wouldn't support such a move because we don't agree with it," said Hendrie.

"You get good and bad people from all places; I'm sure there are lots of incidents involving people from other places that don't get the publicity." The Bahrain City Centre project, a joint venture between Bahraini's Cebargo and Malaysian contractor WCT, employs about 1500 people ‘from a spread of nations'.

Hendrie said his company had not had a chance to develop a contingency plan but any bans would have worsened existing labour shortages and project delays.

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