After a four-month suspension due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bahrain will allow private companies to resume hiring foreign workers, the state news agency reported Wednesday.
Private employers can resume hiring employees from abroad beginning Aug. 9, Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority announced, according to Bahrain News Agency.
Under the new rules, employers must prioritize local hiring and are required to first put job listings in local newspapers for two weeks to give interested citizens and expats living in the island kingdom the chance to apply.
The Bahraini government had introduced a number of stimulus measures to “mitigate the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.” Last month, it announced it would pay 50% of the salaries of registered private sector workers for three months beginning in July. From April to June, Bahrain spent $570 million to cover the full wages of 100,000 citizens working in the private sector.
Bahrain has one of the world’s highest per capita coronavirus infection rates due in part to its widespread testing and young migrant workforce. With a population of 1.6 million, the Gulf country has confirmed more than 40,000 cases of the coronavirus and 144 deaths.
As part of its contact-tracing scheme, Bahrain rolled out a smartphone app that uploads GPS-captured location data to a central database. In a June report, Amnesty International blasted the app as a “highly invasive surveillance tool.”