Big rush for out-passes at Indian embassy
Manama, March 31, 2011
Up to 20 out-passes are being issued daily by the Indian Embassy for the past two weeks to workers staying in Bahrain illegally and wanting to return home, it has emerged.
Most of the workers did not have their passports or were overstaying on expired visas, an embassy official told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'We are issuing daily between 15 and 20 out-passes for workers, so that they can leave the country immediately,' he said.
Workers started visiting the embassy in Adliya during the unrest during the past few weeks, said the official.
'Most of these workers did not avail of the government-backed Easy Exit Scheme that pardoned illegal foreign workers to leave the country,' he said.
'But now they are coming for out-passes to return home.'
Under the Easy Exit scheme that was launched last May and ended in December, people who overstayed their visas could volunteer to leave the country without paying fines.
The official said that once out-passes are issued, workers should purchase the airline tickets.
'The ticket and out-pass should be presented to officials at the General Directorate of Nationalities, Passports and Residence Affairs,' he said.
'They will review each case and will provide an official clearance for the worker to leave the country.
'This will depend on individual cases as a worker could have a court case or a formal complaint filed by his sponsor against him.
'Once all such issues are settled, the worker can finally leave Bahrain.'
Several Indian families have also left the country in the past few weeks after a spate of attacks that targeted foreign workers, according to Octic International.
Consular, visa and passport services at the embassy are outsourced to the company.
'We had families visiting us to have their passports renewed or for other documentation purposes,' said Octic International general manager Fazal Ul Haq.
'They did not cancel their visas but shifted temporarily to India. But with the situation improving, they could head back to Bahrain,'
The GDN reported yesterday that 65 people were injured and seven civilians killed as result of anti-government protests that broke out last month.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said on Tuesday that 24 people had been killed as a result of political unrest, including four policemen.-TradeArabia News Service