Job visas warning to expats

THOUSANDS of expatriates with expired work visas have only four days to renew them or leave the country. The Easy Exit scheme, which ends on Friday, aims to pardon illegal foreign workers who did not renew their residence permit or overstayed on a visit visa.

“We have about 3,000 workers with expired work visas,” Labour Market Regulatory Authority corporate communications manager Waheed Al Balooshi told the GDN.

He said that those individuals have two options, either to get their work visas renewed immediately or visit their respective embassies to apply for the Easy Exit scheme.

“Employees with expired work visas, who fail to register before Friday, will be considered as illegal workers and face punishment,” said Mr Al Balooshi.

“Their employers should complete all the formalities by paying a fine for overstaying to renew the work visa.”

He said that by the end of November, about 6,000 workers including housemaids benefited from the Easy Exit scheme.

“Majority of these workers who left the country were from Bangladesh,” said Mr Al Balooshi.

Under the Easy Exit scheme, launched in May, people who have overstayed their visas can volunteer to leave the country without facing any fines.

However, they must pay BD25 if they have an expired visit visa and BD15 if they have an expired employment visa. Workers, who register at their respective embassies to avail the scheme, have one month to leave the country.

This was told to over 1,200 expats yesterday by officials from the Co-ordination Committee of Indian Associations (CCIA), which launched a road show to cover 10 different locations across the country.

“We want to spread the word among those workers who are still waiting to benefit from the Easy Exit scheme,” said CCIA representative K T Salim.

The road show kicked off near Nesto Super Market in Manama, which was attended by CCIA officials and social workers were present. CCIA members advised workers to register for the scheme before Friday to avoid arrest and deportation.

Gulf Air had announced its support to the scheme by offering low-cost tickets and increased baggage allowance.