Bahraini lawmakers reject calls for age cap on expat workers

newsimageDUBAI: Plans to ban expats over 50-years-old from working in Bahrain have been rejected by the island nation’s Council of Representatives. The proposed age cap was suggested in an attempt to boost employment chances for Bahrainis, but it was opposed by the Labor Market Regulatory Authority and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Politicians rejected the plans because they said Bahrain continued to gain from the experience and knowledge foreign workers brought with them. MP Ali Al-Aradi, the First Deputy Speaker, told UAE daily Gulf News. “There are various sectors that do need people with experience and expertise.” And MP Isa Al-Kooheji said: “In some sectors, the older the person gets, the more experienced he or she becomes and the better he or she passes his or her skills to others, and I can cite medicine and law, for instance.” Al-Kooheji said he did not oppose Bahrainis taking up more new jobs, but he added: “I have never said that Bahrainis were not competent enough, but I do say that it is highly significant that we obtain experience from foreigners for the sake of our people.” More than half Bahrain’s population is foreign nationals – although many of those are low to unskilled people working in construction and service sector positions. Meanwhile Bahrainis tend to hold advanced positions in skill-based positions.