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Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) announced that it will resume issuing work permits for workers who are abroad from 9 August 2020 onwards. The LMRA also announced that it will require businesses to announce their job vacancies in local newspapers for a period of two weeks before issuing work permits to workers abroad. 

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This latest advisory is a cause for concern. UAE has ‘urged’ employers “to ask their maids and household helpers to avoid meeting friends outside of the home this Eid.” However, for the employers, visits are “limited to first and second-degree relatives.”

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Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority recently announced that from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020, it will suspend job transfers for migrants unless the current employer cancels the work permit and the new employer directly compensates the first employer for the fees corresponding with the remaining validity of the work permit.

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Bahrain’s Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs renews free extension of visit visas until 21 October 2020.

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced that it has started implementing the 16th phase of the Wage Protection System (WPS). As of 1 August 2020, companies with 5 to 10 workers are now obligated to register with WPS.

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Oman has stepped up its Omanisation policy through several ministerial decisions.

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Oman enacted Ministerial Decision 186/2020 which amends some provisions regulating private sector businesses that violate the Covid-19 precautions.

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Saudi Arabia has renewed an automatic extension of expired visit visas and residency permits (iqama) for foreigners both inside and outside of the country, for a period of three months without charge.

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Kuwait’s Parliamentary Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee has approved a draft law proposal which would set a foreign residence quota for every nationality. The proposal will now be referred to Kuwait’s Human Resources Development Committee, which will study the proposal before referring it to the National Assembly for a vote.

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According to a recent Al Qabas report, Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) has annulled all “absconding” cases lodged during the Covid-19 crisis.

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UAE recently issued a decision that requires domestic workers to pass a mental health check and obtain a good-conduct certificate in order to enter and work in the UAE. The new decision reflects – and perpetuates – a perception of domestic workers as inherently prone to psychological issues and violence.

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In Kuwait, Oil Minister Khaled Al-Fadhel said recently that migrants will no longer be hired in Kuwait’s oil sector and that contracts with migrants will be reduced. This follows last week’s statement by Kuwaiti Prime Minister to reduce the expatriate population 70% to 30%.

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Qatar’s Ministry of Finance has instructed government-owned entities to cut employment costs of non-nationals by 30% starting from 1 June 2020. 

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Nearly 500 workers of Emirates-based AMB-Hertel protested against months of non-payment in May. AMB-Hertel is an Emirati subsidiary of the French multinational Altrad. According to Le Monde, the group has 15,000 employees in the Gulf, and it’s founder, Mohed Altrad, is a candidate for mayor of Montpellier.

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Migrant workers in Oman can now transfer sponsorship without a no-objection certification from their sponsor after completing a two-year contract. Previously, non-Omanis were banned from re-entering the country for two years if they left their employer without permission.

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Qatar approves a draft law to amend some provisions of the Labour Law as the state moves to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

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