Pinoys Flock to Embassy in Bahrain as Amnesty Period Starts –Report

Several Filipinos flocked to the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain on Wednesday to avail of Bahrain’s amnesty program for foreigners illegally staying there, a Bahrain news site reported Thursday.

A report on Gulf Daily News quoted a Philippine embassy spokesperson as saying there was a “rush” of people wanting to take advantage of the amnesty.

“We are really busy with over 100 people here at the embassy who want to leave the country or want more information about the amnesty,” the spokesperson told Gulf News Daily.

The report quoted diplomats of the Philippine, Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani embassies as saying they were “overwhelmed” by the response.

The six-month amnesty, which will remain in effect until December 31, allows illegal foreign residents to return home without penalties.

It also allows illegal expatriates to legalize their stay with a new employer without being penalized for residency offenses.

Those who leave within the period may return if they can secure legitimate employment.

Meanwhile, Gulf Daily News quoted Bangladesh Embassy labor counselor Mohammed Islam as saying that embassy staff have instructions “to work extra hours to help workers who want to leave under the general amnesty.”

Islam said as many as 36,000 Bangladeshis were living in Bahrain illegally, after running away from their employers or overstaying their visas.

Gulf Daily News said Bahrain’s last amnesty for illegal residents was in 2010.

(Source: Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News)

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