D-Day for jobs visa cheats

MANAMA: A nationwide crackdown on thousands of illegal workers will be launched today following the end of the Easy Exit scheme.Police will arrest foreign workers without proper documents, who will be housed at a shelter for expats at the Hidd detention centre.

“The workers will be detained at the shelter until their case is taken up by the courts,” said an Interior Ministry spokesman. “Depending on the gravity of the case, workers will be deported to their home country or complete a jail term and then sent back home.

“Employers who hire runaway workers will be fined BD500, which can reach a maximum of BD1,000.”

The GDN reported on December 28 that there are more than 3,000 workers with expired work visas, who have to renew their residence permits or leave the country. The Easy Exit scheme launched by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) in May last year ended yesterday.

Workers, who registered at their respective embassies to avail of the scheme before the deadline, have one month to leave the country.

The Interior Ministry, LMRA and the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR) have a joint committee that is expected to announce its plan of action to deal with illegal workers.

Sources say teams comprising officers from the government bodies concerned will conduct intensive inspections to catch violators who failed to benefit from the exit scheme.

“Those arrested will definitely face legal action and deportation,” said GDNPR director, human resource and finance Nayef Al Sherooqi.

Meanwhile, the Easy Exit campaign has led to the deportation of 6,000 illegal expatriate workers and regularisation of the status of about 14,000, LMRA information and communication director-general Waheed Al Balooshi told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej.

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