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17 Sep 2020


Bahrain: Migrant workers face homelesssness amid COVID-19 without rent & accommodation protections

"Migrants in Bahrain face an eviction crisis amid COVID-19 pandemic," 15 Sep 2020

As the pandemic worsens Bahrain’s already ailing economy, many migrants have defaulted on their rent due to furloughs, income reduction, and job loss.

According to Bahrain’s labour law, there is no obligation for employers to provide accommodation to migrant employees (except for those working and living in areas "far from urban regions")... [unless] stipulated in the work contract, which may be in the form of either an allowance or accommodation....

According to those affected and social workers MR spoke to, landlords were generally lenient about unpaid rents at the start of the pandemic, in part because the government waived electricity and water bills for three months. 

The waiver has since been renewed for another three months but only for Bahraini nationals. A migrant worker called out the unfair exclusion of non-citizens from these protective measures in an open letter to the Gulf Daily News...

But six months into the crisis, landlords, who are also dependent on rental income, have started to take legal action to evict tenants in cases where tenancy contracts exist. For landlords who rent out their rooms irregularly, they have resorted to threatening the tenants or cutting electricity supply.