Over 40,000 undocumented Bangladeshi migrants have been in the process of being legalised in Bahrain under its ongoing general amnesty that began since early this month amid COVID-19 crisis, according to Bangladesh Embassy in Manama.
‘Amid COVID-19 pandemic, it is good news that Bahrain is legalising Bangladeshi undocumented workers,’ said Bangladesh labour councillor in Manama Sheikh Mohammed Tauhidul Islam.
He told New Age on Monday that about 16,000 foreign irregular migrants had already been legalised and most of them were from Bangladesh.
‘As per our estimate it is over 40,000 undocumented Bangladeshis who will get the opportunity under the amnesty. Until December 31 this year, the workers will get the opportunity,’ he said.
Meanwhile, a total of 341 Bangladeshi migrant workers, mostly detainees and six dead bodies of migrant workers had been repatriated from the Kingdom of Bahrain, he said.
Over 200,000 Bangladeshis are currently working in Bahrain, according to officials of the foreign ministry.
In April, Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority has announced an amnesty for irregular migrants who would not need to pay any fines to regularise their residency status or leave the country.
The LMRA has also cancelled monthly work permit fees and fees related to issuing and renewing work permits for three months beginning April 1, 2020, according to Migrants-Rights.Org.
The move was intended to help alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on employers, and facilitate the hiring of irregular and regular workers.
The LMRA also announced that it has cut fees for the Flexi-Permit by 60-78%. The Flexi Permit now costs Bahraini dinar 167 ($443) for one year and the cost of renewal will be BD 72 ($191). It was earlier BD 427 annual fees and BD 322 for renewal.
Flexi-Permit holders will not be charged any monthly fees until the end of June. The LMRA’s Flexi Permit website has been updated accordingly. This move will be especially beneficial for those who already have the Flexi-Permit but cannot afford renewal fees amidst the current economic downturn and loss of jobs, and for those who wish to regularise their status but cannot find full-time employment.
Applications for the Flexi-Permit will be done remotely but migrants must be present in person to collect the Flexi-Permit and provide biometric details. Irregular workers will not need their passports to apply.
By: Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan
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