Bahrain: New bill to crack down ‘free visas’

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Manama : The House of Representatives will discuss a bill in its weekly session on Tuesday to toughen the punishments for those who hire illegal employees, under “free visa, DT Newshas learnt.

Submitted by MP Adel Al Assoomy and other MPs, the bill stipulates that the existing punishment in the Penal Code should be doubled from a jail term not exceeding six months to a full year imprisonment, and from a fine of BD4,000 to BD8,000.

According to Al Assoomy, the bill is aimed at eradicating the illegal employment and “runaway” workers’ phenomenon, and to tackle its negative effects on the security and economy of the Kingdom, by maintaining the regulation of economic or professional activities that require permission to be practiced.

Several initiatives have been taken to tackle the free visa issue in Bahrain. MPs had formed a specialised committee in 2014 to investigate the phenomenon and come out with solutions and recommendations.

Another official step taken to challenge the issue was the launch of the flexible work permits by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) last July. The permits basically gives foreign employees of certain professions the liberty of working for several employers at the same time. At the same time it offered a solution to the existing issue of illegal workers.

The method was formally adopted by the United Nations last month as one of a number of international initiatives to form part of the draft Global Compact on Migration due to be adopted following the International Migration Conference in 2018.

source credit – DT
Muhannad Mansour/DTNN
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