In accordance with Act No. (19) Of 2006, Article No.25 and its amendments as well as Resolution No. (79) For 2009 - Corrected by law No.(15) for 2011 with regards to regulating the procedures for foreign workers’ transfer to another employer; Foreign workers can transfer to another employer without the consent of the current employer providing that the foreign employee has spent at least one year in his current employment with the current employer, the employee and his new/prospect employer only have to follow the rules and procedures in order to complete that process smoothly:
Here are the procedures and conditions set out below:
- Transfer, the process by which the expat employee can join another employer without the need to cancel his/her existing permit / visa and without the need to travel out of the kingdom of Bahrain.
- It is to be noted that the transfer process is only available while the foreign employee’s permit / visa is still valid for at least 3 months.
- The transfer will be processed as per the law: (Article 25 of Act 19 for 2006 and its amendments), with or without the consent of the employee’s old (current) employer, depending on the case.
- Note: 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 (For applications submitted on or after the 23rd of July 2011)
- 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) and the employer would be instantly credited with the unused remaining period of the work permit as a “credit note” in the system, but where 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 time of Transfer application submission.
- Expat 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 permit / visa expiry.
- Expat 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.
- Note: 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 permit / visa on the new employer, otherwise he /she needs to travel out of the country first, before the new employer can apply for him / her.
- The “Transfer Intention” registration is done at LMRA customer services on the ground floor at LMRA’s headquarters in Sanabis.
- The new employer needs to logon to LMRA’s EMS system and complete the electronic transfer application form (as per the information in the passport and other related documents).
- A copy of the passport of the Expat (foreign employee), including all the pages containing the personal information (example: Pages 1 and 2), as well as (Only for the Nationals of India and Pakistan) the page that has the names of the father / mother or husband / Wife Example: Page 36.
- The passport must be valid for at least period of 6 months (and preferably valid for two years).
- A copy of the foreign employee’s CPR.
- A copy of the “job offer letter” or contract between the new employer and foreign employee (one or two pages Max.) On the company’s letterhead or a government official paper.
It must include the following information: "The Names of the employer and the foreign employee, passport number, Nationality, job role (occupation) of the employee, salary, employment and notice periods. This job offer letter 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 visa.
- If the employee has dependents in Bahrain, provide a copy of their passports and CPR cards too (Wife and children).
- For certain specialized occupations , you need the approval letter / no-objection certificate from relevant authority (approval must be as recent as possible and should not be older than 6 months)
- Engineers and engineering jobs: Approval from the Ministry of Works - Committee for the organization of engineering practices.
- For banking and insurance companies’ managers: Approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain – CBB.
- For mosques and “Ma’atams / Husainneyas”: Approval from the Ministry of Justice and endowments “Awqaf”
- For medical professionals: approval from the Ministry of Health.
- For education related occupations in the private sector: Approval of the Ministry of Education.
- And in the absence of consent of the old (current) employer in the system, (through the "allow" transfer option), in addition to the above requirements you need to provide:
- The letter of resignation and notice (as per the labour law and /or the employment agreement between them) addressed to the current employer by the employee who wants to move.
- Post office “registered mail” notification card (pink card) / slip for the resignation / notice letter sent by the foreign employee to his/her old (current) employer.
- The notice must be send to the employer’s physical address registered in the CR (as per the Ministry of Industry and Commerce) – and not to a P.O box or mailing address. Search the MOIC’s site for details http://www.moic.gov.bh.
- Notice 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.
Steps and Rules:
A - In the case of the foreign worker transfer without the consent of the old employer:
- The foreign worker must have completed at least 12 months of service with the current (old) employer.
- The foreign worker must first notify his 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 as per the employment contract between the parties.
Notice should not exceed three months from the date set for the transfer application.
- The second (new) employer makes a transfer request / application to LMRA prior to the date set for the transfer by one month, providing all the required documents as mentioned above.
- The first (old) employer will be compensated with the fees of the remaining period of the work visa validity.
B - In the case of the foreign worker’s transfer with the consent of the current employer:
- With the mutual agreement of both employers, the new employer makes a transfer application at LMRA, providing all the required documents.
- Using LMRA’s online system, the first employer allows the worker’s transfer; the worker will be transferred after the payment of the fees.
C - In the case of transfer at the end of the work visas’ validity or the cancellation of the worker’s work visa:
- The worker seeking transfer needs to notify LMRA as detailed below- this is done by personally visiting LMRA’s customer service department:
- Before Thirty days of the expiration date of his work visa
- After the expiration or cancellation of the work visa within a period not exceeding five working days from the date of the cancellation, notification or from signing the clearance.
- The worker would be given Thirty days (calendar days) to enable him to make the transfer to another employer, during which he is prohibited from engaging in any work, the first employer will not be allowed to renew this worker’s work visa.
- After the worker submits his transfer notification at LMRA, the (new) employer submits a new work visa application for the foreign worker.
D - In all transfer cases (except C above)
- The worker continues to work for the first employer; and his due monthly fees shall be paid for until the approval of the transfer application and the new employer’s payment of the new work visa 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 worker would not be allowed to mobilize / transfer in the following cases:
- In the cases mentioned in Article 25 paragraph (b) of Act No.(19) 2006 with regards to the regulation of the labour market:
- If the worker ceases to comply with one or more of the conditions for issuing the permit.
- If a final criminal judgment is passed against the worker for a felony or a crime that violates honor or honesty.
- If the worker violates the terms under which his work permit was issued.
- If the new employer does not have the required Bahranization quotas or has a violation which prevents him from applying for transfer.
- If the worker 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 visa. (In the case of the foreign worker’s transfer without the consent of the his employer)
Time taken to decide on the request:
LMRA issues the approval decision within 3 working days from the date of fulfilling all the approvals of the concerned agencies and all the relevant information, data, documents and the required conditions and the approval from the concerned authorities to grant residence permit in the kingdom. The start of the validation of the statement will be after the payment of the fees within 30 days from the date of the approval.
The employer may pay the fees electronically via the website or personally at LMRA.
Note: Information mentioned in this guide is subject to change.