Easy Exit scheme gaining in popularity

Applicants for the Easy Exit scheme are slowly but surely increasing, with large numbers of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals approaching their embassies everyday to apply for the scheme.

Officials from the three embassies have stated that they expect the number of applicants to continue to increase as the weeks go by and more people learn of the initiative.

The Bahrain Tribune reported yesterday that the Bangladesh Embassy has been overwhelmed by the number of applicants, with over 1,000 nationals converging on the embassy on Sunday. The number of applicants remained high yesterday with hundreds of Bangladeshis flocking to apply for the scheme.

Embassy officials were able to accept 200 applications yesterday, while 500 more were submitted on Sunday.
The embassy is expecting this influx to continue, with over 1,000 Easy Exit application forms having been taken home by Bangladeshi nationals. “We expect these will be submitted to us with the required documents next week,” First Secretary at the Embassy, Ibrahim Muhammad, stated.

While the turnout has not been quite so dramatic at the Indian Embassy, Nirmal Kumar Chawdhary, the mission’s second secretary, told the Tribune that they have received over a thousand Easy Exit applications from their nationals in total.

“We still continue to get on average about 30 people who want to leave the Kingdom under the scheme,” he stated, adding that he expects this number to increase as awareness of the scheme increases.

He revealed that 980 applications have already been sent to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) to be processed. “550 have been processed by them and these people we assume are in the process of leaving or have left Bahrain. 168 people were asked to go to the Immigration Department. They will have to pay the stipulated fees once their papers are cleared and can then leave.”

Commercial Councillor at the Pakistani Embassy Muhammad Saleem also affirmed that the response to the clemency scheme has been good and is increasing slowly. He added that the mission has received about 160 applicants until now.

The Easy Exit scheme was first initiated in February by the government for expatriates residing in the Kingdom on expired work visas. It was later amended on May 25 to include a pardon of all accumulated fines for expatriates residing in the Kingdom on all types of expired visas, including also domestic workers and expats on expired visit visas.

Accumulated fines are now pardoned under the new scheme and applicants must simply pay a nominal fee of BD25 if on an expired visit visa and BD15 if on an expired employment visa.