Monday, January 21, 2008

If implemented, this would significantly improve the economic status of migrant workers in Bahrain

Bahrain's population, now thought to be more than one million, includes close to half a million non-citizens, most of whom are lower level clerical employees, domestic workers and laborers. Many gain entry into the country with so-called "free visa," which are not free at all to them. The visas are free in the sense that they are freely distributed to privileged Bahranis who then dispense them, usually with payment of a monthly free for the term of employment. Thus, a significant percentage of a manual laborers monthly income is paid as a commission to the visa dispenser. A modification of this system, which would dispense with "free visas" would increase effectively the monthly incomes of imported workers and end a system of exploitation.

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