Bahrain plans to remove illegal expat workers

Published:  12 Feb at 9 AM
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Tagged: Visas, USA
Bahraini officials are to launch a crackdown on what they believe is tens of thousands of illegal foreign workers in the Gulf country.

A key reason there are so many illegal foreign workers in Bahrain is because of visa rules that allow foreigners to buy two-year visas for around US$4,000 and enter the country without the guarantee of employment. Once in, they often accept whatever is offered to them, regardless of whether working visas are provided.

The latest crackdown is also set to involve officials targeting the firms that sell the visas, which are often referred to as ‘free visas’, to the foreigners.

The Labour Market Regularity Authority (LMRA) chief executive Ausamah Al Absi said they would be carrying out their duties under a new law approved by the National Assembly last September. He explained that they would now be able to prosecute those taking advantage of the free visa issue by providing false information to acquire visas and hiring illegal workers.

Al Absi revealed that the LMRA had been working alongside the Labour Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Public Prosecution to compile a database on suspected offenders. Anyone convicted of acting illegally could face fines in excess of US$2,500 of jail time of between three months and one year.
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