Ask AJ – Labour Law

Problem:  A friend of mine, who is a non-Bahraini national, had an acrimonious dispute with his employer. My friend understood that upon the completion of his employment contract he was entitled to a fully paid return ticket to his home country

However, nearing the end of his contract, he was disappointed to find that he was not issued with a return ticket. Understandably concerned, he approached his employer who refused to issue a ticket on the grounds that the man was no longer under his sponsorship and therefore he was under no obligation to repatriate him.

Unfortunately, it was not specified in my friend’s contract that his employer would pay for his ticket home. This is an extremely stressful situation for my friend. Is his employer legally obliged to pay for his return ticket even though it was not included as a term in the contract?

Advice: Originally, the preceding Labor Law (1976) contained articles explicitly dealing with foreign workers and their rights to repatriation. However, the inauguration of the new Labor Law (2012) did not include these articles. Therefore, the issue of repatriating a foreign worker to his country of origin was included in the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). Thus it can be derived that, upon the termination of the employment relationship, whether by expiry or cancellation of the work permit, the last employer for whom the work permit was issued shall be obliged to incur the transport expenses of the foreign worker’s transport to the place specified in the contract of employment. However, it is important to note (especially with regards to your friend’s position,) if the contract of employment did not specify such a location the employer shall bear the cost of the transport of the foreign worker to a location, to which he belongs by nationality.

Furthermore, if an employer employs a foreign worker without obtaining a permit, the obligation to incur transport expenses referred to in the foregoing passage shall shift to such an employer. However, if a foreign worker upon the termination of his contractual relationship, obtains employment from another employer; the foreign worker will not be entitled to the repatriation from his former employer.

In short, according to the facts provided your friend can legally enforce his employer to pay for his return ticket to the country of his nationality. If the employer still refuses, he can file a legal action against his employer, whereby the judgment will be left to the discretion of the court.

To contact Ali Al Jabal at 
Al Jabal Consultancy

Attorneys and Legal Consultants
Tel: +973 17 530 400 
E-mail: info@aljaballaw.com 
www.aljaballaw.com

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