Bravo to the government of Bahrain, which is taking a lead in reforming labour laws to prevent the abuse of migrant workers.
Abdulaziz Al Khalifa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week Bahrain would press ahead with plans to stop individuals sponsoring migrant workers. The process will instead be done through a government department. In addition, workers from Bangladesh and Pakistan must now be made aware of their legal rights before they leave their countries and any employer that confiscates a migrant's passport will be prosecuted. Hotlines and shelters are also being set up to ensure workers who fall into the hands of unscrupulous employers have some way to escape.
These policies have met with resistance from some employers but the King of Bahrain and his government have made it a priority and the movement has gained such momentum that it will not be stopped.
From a humanitarian point of view we should all applaud this change but it makes sense economically, as well. All states that seek to attract migrant workers are in competition, even
if it does not feel like it when there are 100,000 people waiting for every job. But there is little gain from employing the incompetent, the malcontent and the criminal.