Bahrain starts regularising illegal workers

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:57, Nov 10,2018


The Bahrain government had decided to regularise thousands of undocumented migrant domestic workers.
Domestic workers for the first time are being included in the flexi work permit scheme that was launched in July last year to regularise migrant workers without proper documents, according to a Gulf Daily News report published on Friday.
The report also confirmed that the workers who absconded from their employers before November 1 would be considered eligible to get new visa.
Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority chief executive Ausamah Al Absi was quoted saying that the new scheme was in fact a ‘limited time offer.’
‘We are now allowing domestic workers to apply for the flexible work permit scheme,’ he said.
There were fewer than 5,000 undocumented domestic workers in Bahrain, he added. Migrant rights activists welcomed the Bahraini amnesty and said that undocumented Bangladeshi domestic workers could avail the opportunity.
The flexi work permit scheme allows illegal expatriates with expired or terminated work permits to sponsor themselves and work for multiple employers. It is valid for two years, after which point it must be renewed, and comes with a residence permit.
The permits, available from the LMRA branch in Sitra, are aimed at combating the illegal visa trade — in which expatriates pay out as much as 1,500 Bahraini Dinar (about Tk 3.34 lakh) to buy residence permits.
Applications from undocumented domestic workers who had court cases against them would be reviewed before being granted the new permit, said Al Absi.
In November last year, LMRA chief executive officer Ausamah A AL Absi said that 40 per cent Bangladeshi workers in Bahrain were undocumented.
Bangladeshi workers are in the top among undocumented expatriate workers in Bahrain.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumaiya Islam told New Age on Friday that there were many Bangladeshi female domestic workers who became undocumented in Bahrain.
She urged the Bangladesh embassy in Manama to launch a massive campaign among Bangladeshi workers in Bahrain so that no runaway or undocumented workers were deprived of the opportunity.

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