Indian officials in push for kids' visit visa
Manama, June 25, 2011
Indian Embassy officials in Bahrain are set to push for two-month visit visas (that can be extended for one more month) to children of parents living in the Kingdom.
Ambassador Mohan Kumar said many Indian children are born in Bahrain and complete their education here but when they go back to their country for undergraduate studies, they lose their resident permit and are only entitled to an initial visit visa of 15 days.
'These children have lived here all of their life but they aren't entitled to a residence permit and so they have to come on a visit visa,' he said.
'The first issue is they don't get a permit and so their status is different. Then they have to spend 21 days to get a visit visa, which is for 15 days and can be renewed for a month, but these children have long holidays.'
'It's an oversight and we have to deal with it. Our intention is to see them get at least a two-month visit visa that can be extended for one more month and they shouldn't wait 21 days for it to be processed.'
Kumar was speaking following an open house held at the embassy in Adliya on Friday.
The ambassador also welcomed His Majesty King Hamad's decision to amend a law that now makes it mandatory for foreign workers to complete a year with their company before they can change jobs.
The law previously allowed expats to switch companies without the consent of their employer.
A new clause states they must have been with a company for at least 12 months before leaving.
'This law will bring stability and security and our expectation is that after the one year the sponsor can't demand the worker to stay with the original employer,' said Kumar.
'The employer will spend what he spends on bringing the employee and after one year the employee has the legal right to move.'
Kumar said a recurring problem was that employers were illegally withholding their employees' passports.
'We have advised unskilled workers that they must at least keep a copy of their passport and contract, but better they should keep their passport and the employer can take a copy.'
Kumar said eight cases were presented to the embassy at the open house which were few compared with the high number received in April during the unrest.
He said the main issue at that time was lack of payment, but now only the odd case was being raised to the embassy and this was a good indication that the country's economy was back on track.
'We have a huge expat community of 350,000 and six to eight cases is not that high, so perhaps things are edging back to normal,' said Kumar.
'We prefer to work with the authorities and resolve issues and we will take these issues up.'
The ambassador said he would raise these issues to Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan.
Meanwhile, Kumar said at a recent meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, they discussed how to boost economic, commercial and trade co-operation between the two countries.-TradeArabia News Service