Amnesty a lifeline for illegals

By Begena P Predeep ,  Posted on » Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Indian Embassy yesterday urged illegal workers to take advantage of a newly-introduced campaign by labour and immigration authorities to weed out illegal workers.

The ‘pardon’ campaign was launched on Tuesday by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR).

It targets thousands of workers, including housemaids and other domestic workers, as well as visitors who have overstayed their visas.

Though there will be no penalties and no questions asked, a fee of BD15 per worker and BD25 per visitor will be charged.

This is an opportunity not to be missed by any illegal Indians staying in Bahrain and could end any time, said Ambassador Dr George Joseph.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an Open House at the embassy in Adliya.

It is held on the last Friday of every month as part of efforts to reach out to more people in the community.

“This easy-exit campaign is like a mini-amnesty, though Bahrain has not announced a deadline,” said Dr Joseph.

“It cannot be compared to an amnesty and can end any time and so people who are staying here illegally should come forward as soon as possible and make use of the facility.

“It is a move to help illegal workers with no criminal case against them to exit without any hassle.”

Dr Joseph also pointed out that Indians still sign on blank papers before or after they come to Bahrain for employment.

“People everywhere know that signing on blank documents can land them in trouble but for some reason many continue to do so.

“Before leaving India, they need to be educated never to sign on blank papers and vigorous awareness campaigns need to be carried out.”

Ten cases were heard at the Open House and the next event will be held on June 25.

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