Some 3,000 overseas Filipino worker (OFW), particularly runaway employees, stand to benefit from the “Flexi Visa” program by the Bahrain government, a first in the Middle East where there is a huge concentration of OFW.
This was announced yesterday by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) following successful negotiations between Filipino and Bahrain authorities.
The “Flexi Visa” program, launched last Monday, is essentially a residence and work permit made available for those who have no legal immigration status in Bahrain.
It is renewable every two years, covers health insurance and return ticket once the contract period has ended or when the migrant worker wants to return to his or her country.
“After a series of quiet negotiations and discussions, Bahrain’s Labor Marketing Regulatory Authority announced for the first time that those runaway domestic workers in the country will now be covered by the Flexi Visa program,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.
“This is in line with the DFA’s efforts to seek pathways for regularization of our OFW in the implementation of the mandate of President Rodrigo Duterte to spare no effort to protect our nationals overseas,” she added.
During the launch, a total of 120 Filipinos were able to get their “blue cards”, with another 42 expected who got their visas the next day. At present, there are 267 previously undocumented Filipinos in Bahrain who have received their visas.