Bahrain has announced an historic plan under which expatriates with a court-ordered travel ban will be allowed to obtain a work permit and subsequently legalise their presence in the kingdom.
The agreement pertains to those who are under a court-ordered travel ban due to financial debt or civil claims and are barred from leaving the kingdom until these debts are settled, said the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), which announced an agreement in this regard with the Ministry of Justice.
LMRA chief executive Usamah Al Absi, who also chairs the National Committee for Combating Trafficking in Persons, thanked the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Endowment Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa, for his understanding and humanitarian gesture, which will give a large number of expatriates the opportunity rectify their legal position, earn a living, and pay their debts in a manner corresponding with the laws of Bahrain, and at the same time protects them from being exploited, said a Bahrain news Agency report.
Al Absi further explained: "There will be no additional requirements or paperwork by the LMRA for applications relating to such cases; it will be received and handled like any other application, and they can apply for either renewal of their work permits, or a new work permit with a new employer under the Mobility procedure".
He added: "While the agreement with the Ministry of Justice, Islamic affairs and Endowment is valid indefinitely, it comes while there are still seven weeks remaining in the Amnesty Period, thus providing a great opportunity for this group of people to sort out their legal situation without further penalties or fees, and we ask them to avail of the time remaining."
The amnesty period which started on July 1 and ends on December 31 has so far attracted over 25,000 illegal workers to either find new legal employment, or leave the country with the possibility of returning in the future under new legal employment.
Alabsi said: "We are aware that many illegal workers who have decided to go back home are delaying it to the last possible time, which is understandable, but they must keep in mind that December is a busy month for the airlines, and that it is not guaranteed that they find a seat on flights if they delay their departure to the last minute, meanwhile the Amnesty expires on December 31 without extensions or exceptions."
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