LMRA launching new visa sweep

The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) officials hope to send home or legalise more than 40,000 ‘irregular’ workers in Bahrain by the end of the year.

They have already slashed the number of illegal workers from 48,000 to 43,000 in the past three months.

However, LMRA corporate communication manager Waheed Al Balushi said that was just the start. He also said authorities no longer viewed ‘free visa’ workers or those who overstay their visa as illegal – since many of them could actually be victims of rogue bosses.

‘We now use the term irregular workers instead of illegal workers because it puts a criminal label on them,’ Al Balushi told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, on Thursrday.

‘Not all of these workers are intentionally here illegally, since their employer could have not renewed their visa. ‘That’s why we are now going with the term irregular because it is a human rights issue.’

He said the number of ‘irregular’ workers now in Bahrain was dropping thanks to a National Campaign to Treat Irregular Workers, which revolved around a three-pronged approach.

The first and most successful has been an Easy Exit scheme, which allows workers whose visas have expired to pay minimal fines to leave the country.

Under the scheme, expats who overstay their work visas can leave Bahrain after paying a fine of BD15, while those who overstay visit visas can go after paying BD25.

‘A lot of irregular workers have been approaching under this scheme and we hope it continues this way,’ he added.

The second strategy consists of LMRA inspections of company records to identify firms with a history of ‘irregular’ workers.

These are conducted in conjunction with the Health Ministry, Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry, Labour Ministry, Industry and Commerce Ministry and the Interior Ministry, which also carry out their own inspection to ensure firms are following all regulations.

Any expats caught working illegally face deportation, while the company itself will be fined a minimum of BD1,000 for every ‘irregular’ worker.

However, in some cases firms will be allowed to legitimise their workforce by renewing their visas – depending on how long ago they expired.

A third approach involves a crackdown on illegal street workers in collaboration with the Interior Ministry and the Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry.

Any ‘irregular’ worker caught in those sweeps also faces deportation. ‘We will continue to use these strategies and follow them with even more seriousness and continuity,’ Al Balushi said.

‘The above schemes also motivate the employers themselves to be more aggressive in getting rid of irregular workers,’ he added.-TradeArabia News Service

14 thoughts on “LMRA launching new visa sweep

  1. Many thanks to LMRA for sweeping irregular workers in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I request LMRA to investiage about rogue sponsors in the Bahrain.

  2. Dear Sirs,

    My daughter came here on a VISIT VISA and the VISA getting expired on coming 28th June 2014.However she got a job offer and the Employer is trying to process the VISA from 23rd June 2014.
    Hence my daughter may over stay to avail the VISA or if the Visa is not successful then she may have to leave after 28th June 2014 ,say 1st week of July or so.
    In that case what will be fine to be paid while leaving the country.
    Kindly advise.

    Best regards,

  3. Respected sir
    I need help from lmra bahrain. One of my friend he came on visit visa in bahrain before 10 months and he get a job in different companies after fews months companies they said that they dont have visa. Now he is over stay on visit visa . Is that possible he can easy exit stamp from lmra.bh

    Kindly tell me what we wil do

    Thanking you

    Hassan imran

  4. I have overstayed my visa by more than one month. It is a Friday and I have a flight leaving tonight. The directorate of passports is closed and I want to know how I can pay the fine. Can I pay it at the airport. I have a three month visit visa. Thank you

  5. Hello LMRA
    My brother is working in a courier company It is a new company established 5months back. The viza procedures are taking time for each employee as they are starting from the manager then office staff and then the drivers. My brother’s viza is expired since 7months now. Police has caught him and asked the sponsor to come with a release letter. Can I apply a flexible viza for him.

  6. My 3 month visit visa is expired now. Now Im overstayed for 1month and 4 days. How much is the fine or penalty before I go back to my country. And how?

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