Bahrain Flexi Visa to help 3,000 undocumented OFWs
MANILA, Philippines – Up to 3,000 undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can benefit from Bahrain's newly launched Flexi Visa, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Thursday, November 8.
The DFA explained that a Flexi Visa "is essentially a residence and work permit available for those who have no legal immigration status in Bahrain." The DFA said Bahrain launched its Flexi Visa program on Monday, November 5.
The Flexi Visa can be renewed every two years. It covers a worker's health insurance and return ticket to his or her country.
Foreign Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said that "after a series of quiet negotiations and discussions," runaway domestic workers in Bahrain "will now be covered by the Flexi Visa program."
"This is in line with the DFA's efforts to seek pathways for regularization of our OFWs, in implementation of the mandate of President Rodrigo Duterte to spare no effort to protect our nationals overseas," Arriola said. (READ: Duterte to Middle Eastern countries: Do something to stop OFW abuse)
An initial set of Flexi Visas, also called blue cards, have been distributed to Filipino beneficiaries. The DFA said 120 Filipinos received their blue cards during the launch, while another 42 will get their visas soon.
Bahrain is one of the top OFW destinations around the world.
Duterte visited Bahrain in April 2017, with him witnessing the signing of 4 agreements, inviting Bahraini businessmen to explore the Philippines, and even promising to send Filipino troops to Bahrain if the oil-rich kingdom comes under attack. – Rappler.com