What are the procedures for locally transferring employment from one employer to another?
Posted on 01 June 2014 12:32 PM

Expatriate Employee Transfer

Through this service, foreign employees can transfer to another employer without the need to cancel his/ her existing work permit and without the need to travel out of the kingdom of Bahrain. The transfer can be done with or without the consent of the current employer.

Process Description

In case the transfer is based on the former employer’s approval, the new employer needs to do the following:

  1. Login to the LMRA’s EMS system to complete the electronic transfer application form. The entered information should be matching to the information in the passport and other related documents. The employee will be transferred after the payment of the fees.

In case the transfer will be done without the former employer’s approval, the following steps will be taken:

  1. The employee should notify the current employer of his intention to leave by a registered post letter during the specified notice period of the employment contract termination, in accordance with the provisions of the labour law. The notice should not exceed three months from the date set for the transfer application.
  2. The second (new) employer will submit a transfer request/ application to LMRA prior to the date set for the transfer by one month, providing all the required document.
  3. Upon transfer, the first (old) employer will be compensated with the fees of the remaining period of the work permit validity

In case of transfer at the end of the work permits’ validity or the cancellation of the employee’s work permit, the employee should do the following:

  1. Notify LMRA about the transfer by visiting the customer service department before thirty days of the expiration date of your work permit or after the expiration or cancellation of the work permit within a period not exceeding five working days from the date of the cancellation. You should be given thirty days (calendar days) to enable you to make the transfer to another employer, during which you are prohibited from engaging in any work. Your first employer will not be allowed to renew your work permit. The (new) employer will then submit a new work permit application for you.
Required documentSpecial Considerations
Employee Transfer with the Current Employer Consent
Employee passport Copy
  • The passport must be valid for at least 6 months or two years, preferably
  • It should include all the pages containing the personal information, and, for Indians and Pakistanis, the page that has the names of the father/ mother or husband/ wife
Employee ID card  
Job offer letter or contract between the new employer and the employee (one or two pages Max.) on the company’s letterhead or a government official paper Copy
  • The letter or the contract must include the name of the employer and the employee, passport number, nationality, job role (occupation) of the employee, salary, employment and notice periods.
  • It should be signed by the employer and the employee and bear the seal/ stamp of the employer. It should state that the offer is subject to successful application of the work permit
Dependents’ passports and visa, if applicable Copy
Approval letter/ no-objection certificate from the relevant authority for certain specialised occupations (approval from the Ministry of Works - Committee for the organisation of engineering practices for Engineers and engineering jobs; approval from Central Bank of Bahrain – CBB for banking and insurance companies’ managers; approval from the Ministry of Justice and Endowments “Awqaf” for mosques and “Ma’atams / Husainneyas”; approval from the Ministry of Health for medical professionals; approval from the Ministry of Education for education related occupations in the private sector The approval must be as recent as possible and should not be older than 6 months
In case of employment transfer without the current employer consent, please submit the below documents in addition to the above mentioned documents
Resignation and notice letter (as per the labour law and/or the employment agreement between the employee and the employer) addressed to the current employer by the employee who wants to transfer Copy
  • The notice letter must be sent to the employer’s physical address registered in the CR (as per the Ministry of Industry and Commerce). More details can be found on MOIC’s site
  • The letter must be sent to the employer within the specified period of notice for the termination of the employment contract in accordance with the provisions of the labour law for the private sector (not exceeding three months) from the date specified for the transfer
  • The notice period can vary from the minimum of 30 days to the maximum of 90 days
  • In case the notice period is less than 90 days, you need to upload the notice page of the employment agreement between the employee and the old employer
Post office “registered mail” notification card (pink card) or slip for the resignation or notice letter sent by the employee to his/her current employer Copy

Special Conditions

  • The transfer process is only available while the foreign employee’s permit is still valid for at least 3 months.
  • If applying for transfer, without the consent of the old (current) employer, the employee needs to have completed at least 12 months of service with the same employer before a new employer can apply for his/ her transfer.
  • Once the transfer application has been processed, the old (current) employer would be credited with the unused remaining period of the work permit as a “credit note” in the system
  • If the consent of the employee’s old (current) employer is obtained electronically in the EMS system through the “allow transfer function”, or the employer had given the employee a “No Objection Letter”, the transfer will be instant (no need to wait for any period of time or complete 12 months of service). The employer would be then instantly credited with the unused remaining period of the work permit as a “credit note” in the system. If there is an agreement between the old and the new employer to credit the new employer, such agreement must be uploaded in the system at the time of submitting the transfer application.
  • Expatriate employees with expired permits cannot transfer (apply for new work permit while in Bahrain) after the permit’s expiration unless they have already registered their “Transfer Intention”, at least 30 days before the work permit expiry.
  • Expatriate employees with cancelled or terminated permits need to apply for a new work permit (not for transfer) after registering their “Intention” at LMRA within 5 days of the old permits’ cancellation.
  • In case of permit expiry or termination/ cancellation (and if the “intention” has been registered), the employee has 30 days from the cancellation or expiry date in order to obtain a new work permit on the new employer, otherwise he/she needs to travel out of the country first, before the new employer can apply for him / her.

In all transfer cases, except in case of transfer at the end of the work permits’ validity or the cancellation of the employee’s work permit:

  • The employee continues to work for the first employer; and his due monthly fees shall be paid until the approval of the transfer application and the new employer’s payment of the new work permit fees.
  • The new employer commits to pay the new work permit fees within thirty days from the date of the transfer approval; otherwise the approval will be declined.
  • The foreign employee would not be allowed to mobilise/ transfer in the following cases:
    • If the employee ceases to comply with one or more of the conditions for ‎issuing the permit.‎
    • If a final criminal judgment has been passed against the employee for a felony ‎or a crime that violates honor or honesty.‎
    • If the employee violates the terms under which his work permit was ‎issued.‎‎
    • If the new employer does not have the required Bahrainisation quotas or has a violation which prevents him from applying for transfer.‎‎
    • If the employee has a violation which prevents his transfer.‎‎
    • If the date of the transfer request falls within the last three months of the validity of the work permit (in the case of the foreign worker’s transfer without the consent of his employer).
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