Nearly 15,000 undocumented Bangladeshi workers have been regularised in Bahrain under the country's ongoing general amnesty initiative, while many others are going through the process, according to Bangladesh Embassy in Manama.
The embassy officials opined that about 30,000 Bangladeshi workers are expected to take the opportunity of regularising their job status in the Middle-East country.
Earlier, approximately 40,000 Bangladeshis became undocumented in different ways in Bahrain.
Bahrain's Labour Market Regulatory Authority announced a general amnesty scheme for irregular foreign workers in the first week of April, which will continue until December 31.
The workers, who apply for the amnesty, are able to regularise their residency status or to leave the country without any fine.
The move was taken to help ease impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on employers, and facilitate hiring of regularised workers.
Officials said some 5,000 to 10,000 Bangladeshis may return home, taking the amnesty opportunity. So hopefully, no undocumented Bangladeshi worker will remain in Bahrain after this year.
Talking to the FE, Sheikh Mohammed Tauhidul Islam, first secretary at Bangladesh Embassy in Bahrain, said 17,000 undocumented foreign workers from different countries have so far been regularised under the general amnesty. Of them, about 15,000 are Bangladeshi workers.
It is very positive that these workers are taking the opportunity that will also help to reopen the job market for more Bangladeshi nationals, he opined.
Mr Islam further said they submitted 6,000 passports to the Department of Immigration and Passports in Dhaka for reissuance. If they get the passports within a short time, the workers concerned will get the chance to apply for regularisation.
It is needed to get delivery of the passports as early as possible, as about 50 per cent of the applications for reissuing passports are from undocumented workers, he noted.
When asked, the official said after the amnesty scheme, more job opportunities will be created in Bahrain for Bangladeshi workers.
Many workers from other nations will leave the Arab country during the grace period, he observed.
More than 200,000 Bangladeshis are now staying in Bahrain. Most of them are engaged in construction sector. Apart from construction sector, Bangladeshis also work in sectors like cleaning, driving, agriculture and plantation.