Bahrain is to grant a three-month amnesty for illegal immigrants to leave the Gulf island state without paying a fine or legalize their papers, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
Immigration department undersecretary Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa al-Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News that the grace period would start on October 1 and that a ceiling would be set on fines from 2001 to encourage overstayers to come forward.
At present, illegal immigrants have to pay 30 dinars (78 dollars) for each month that their papers have lapsed.
A total of 9,800 people took advantage of a first such three-month amnesty in 1995 and 52,000 more during the last amnesty, which was on offer for five months in 1997, Sheikh Rashid said.
Bahrainis account for some 60 percent of the 650,000 population, while most foreign workers are from the Indian sub-continent.
Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab oil monarchies, seeking to reduce their heavy dependence on foreign labor and find jobs for their young populations, carry out similar campaigns – MANAMA (AFP)
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