Bahrain reforms benefit Pinoys

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The Philippine government lauded the “progressive reforms” put forward by Bahrain allowing hundreds of undocumented Filipinos in the Gulf state to work and stay without work permits and visa sponsors.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said at the sidelines of the International Dialogue for Migration being held in Geneva the Philippine side welcomes the move by Bahrain in their “sponsor-less work permit and visa as well as the reforms in the legal, operational, and social aspects of domestic workers.”

“These reforms are to our mind, one of the most progressive in the countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and give a lot of hope to countries of origin like the Philippines that widespread change in that region is coming,” Arriola said.

Philippine Ambassador to Manama Alfonso Ferdinand Ver took affirmative action in the regularization of Filipino overseas workers in the region, she said.

She said the regularization program is owned and is an initiative of the Government of Bahrain, but also involves the irregular migrant, and the Government of the Philippines. Arriola added the reforms now allow Manila to throw a lifeline to undocumented Filipinos who mostly do not have the means to pay for work permits and visas.

According to her, the pathway provided for by Bahrain allows the Embassy to purchase the
two-month visas so that undocumented Filipinos can seek employment and then regularize their stay.

“These we do with the hope that if this regularization pathway becomes successful, this can snowball in the rest of the GCC and can provide similar innovative pathways to many migrants in irregular status in the region,” the Undersecretary said.

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