Bahrain’s expats criticise new visa rules

Published:  15 Feb at 6 PM
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As reported in Trade Arabia, expatriates living in Bahrain have slammed new immigration laws which would end visa-upon-arrival privileges for people from dozens of nations. The reforms are being introduced in a bid to stop violations and guarantee equal treatment with nations that enforce stringent entry laws on Bahrainis, explained Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa (Interior Minister).

Visitors from the United Kingdom and 26 other EU countries, as well as Canada, the US, Japan and Australia will be affected by the new rules. The minister has requested that the implementation of these measures be completed in coordination with relevant bodies, said an offical ministry statement. It added that the changes come following the abuse of facilities by certain citizens from other nations when they attempted to acquire an entry visa through various border points.

The reforms caused anxiety among many expatriates, who argued it would produce negative consequences on the economy. An Australian native said the visa-on-arrival policy was possibly one of the best aspects about Bahrain. She said the old rules made it “so easy and convenient” to visit Bahrain, since friends could arrive from Dubai almost instantly, adding that now the new rules may put a stop to all that. She said Bahrain is now slowly closing its doors to tourists, which is not what the country needs.
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