Bahrain to slap quota for Indian workers

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Dubai, Dec 14 (UNI) Bahrain, home to some 2,70,000 Indians, is mulling a scheme to impose quota on the number of unskilled Indian labourers allowed to work in the country amid reports that sthe Indian government will soon introduce a minimum wage structure for construction workers.

Other options being considered by Bahrain to deal with the new wage structure for Indians include bringing in unskilled labourers from Nepal, China and Myanmar, the Gulf News reported.

Bahrain's move is sparked by growing concerns about the impact of New Delhi's new measures on the Bahrain's construction sector. The market is at its peak and impressive high-rises are mushrooming at a feverish pace.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has for decades relied on foreign workers to solve its labour shortage. The arrangement was beneficial for both the employers and the employees who were paid more than in their home countries.

With the soaring inflation in the Gulf countries and better living conditions in home countries, labourers now feel that they are not receiving fair deals and believe that the balance of the labour market has tilted in their favour.

Bahrain, like the other GCC states, is wary of the growing social and economic influence of expatriates. Labour Minister Majeed Al Alawi has suggested imposing a six-year residency cap.

Manama is also sensitive to international criticism of workers' conditions, and found itself on the defensive when a US report criticised Bahrain for not doing enough to combat human trafficking and placed it on its blacklist of countries that have failed to stop human trafficking.

Last October, the Indian embassy started enforcing a new wage structure for Indian housemaids, fixing a minimum monthly wage of 100 Bahraini Dinar (about Rs 10,000) and a provision of a mobile telephone as part of measures to protect its workers.

About 15,000 Indian women are employed as domestic help in Bahrain.

UNI

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