Expats petition Bahrain to change visa minimum salary requirements Expats petition Bahrain to change visa minimum salary requirements

Expats petition Bahrain to change visa minimum salary requirements
31 Jul 2018

Expats are calling on Bahrain to reconsider a new visa rule that threatens to break up some families.

The rule, introduced in January, increased the minimum salary requirement of any foreign employee seeking a visa for dependants, such as a wife, husband or children, from BD250 (US$662) a month to BD400 (US$1,059).

The change only affects new applicants, with those already granted residence permits covered by an amnesty. But this amnesty does not cover any new children born after the rule was implemented.

One affected father said two of his children could live with him and his wife in Bahrain, but his eight-month-old daughter would have to be sent to live with relatives in India.

"My two sons were born in India, but my daughter was born here in November," he told the GDN. “I earn BD250 (US$662) and cannot get a dependant’s visa for my daughter because of the new rule, and have no option but to send her back to India."

Bahrain Contractors Society member Hisham Mattar defended the rule change, saying it was designed to take into account the rising cost of living. But he suggested a panel should be appointed to review appeals by applicants who earn less than BD400 (US$1,059) on humanitarian grounds. 

"In my view, a special committee should be set up to review each case and give special consideration on humanitarian grounds," he told Albawaba.

Expats account for 55% of Bahrain’s population, with figures released last November putting the total number at 823,000.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Expats are calling on Bahrain to reconsider a new visa rule that threatens to break up some families.

The rule, introduced in January, increased the minimum salary requirement of any foreign employee seeking a visa for dependants, such as a wife, husband or children, from BD250 (US$662) a month to BD400 (US$1,059).

The change only affects new applicants, with those already granted residence permits covered by an amnesty. But this amnesty does not cover any new children born after the rule was implemented.

One affected father said two of his children could live with him and his wife in Bahrain, but his eight-month-old daughter would have to be sent to live with relatives in India.

"My two sons were born in India, but my daughter was born here in November," he told the GDN. “I earn BD250 (US$662) and cannot get a dependant’s visa for my daughter because of the new rule, and have no option but to send her back to India."

Bahrain Contractors Society member Hisham Mattar defended the rule change, saying it was designed to take into account the rising cost of living. But he suggested a panel should be appointed to review appeals by applicants who earn less than BD400 (US$1,059) on humanitarian grounds. 

"In my view, a special committee should be set up to review each case and give special consideration on humanitarian grounds," he told Albawaba.

Expats account for 55% of Bahrain’s population, with figures released last November putting the total number at 823,000.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Payroll practices in Gulf Cooperation Council countries

The expats' essential guide to moving country

Stop global payroll roadblocks

 

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