THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed the launch of the Flexi-Visa program by the Bahrain government, saying it will help at least 3,000 undocumented Filipino migrants there.
The DFA said the program, which was launched on Monday, will now also benefit domestic workers who ran away from their employers before November 1.
“After a series of quiet negotiations and discussions, Bahrain’s Labor Marketing Regulatory Authority (LMRA) 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 Y. Arriola said in Manama.
“This is in line with the DFA’s efforts to seek pathways for regularization of our OFWs is in implementation of the mandate of President Rodrigo Duterte to spare no effort to protect our nationals overseas,” Arriola said during the launch and distribution of the the Flexi-Visa or “blue cards” to Filipino beneficiaries.
Arriola said the regularization program, which is unique to Bahrain and a first in the Middle East, addresses the vulnerabilities associated with domestic work.
There were 120 Filipinos who were able to get their “blue cards” during the launch, with another 42 are expected to get their visas on Tuesday.
There are now 267 previously undocumented Filipinos in Bahrain who have received their visas.
Through the Philippine Embassy in Manama, the DFA covered the cost of the payment of the visa fee and the first two monthly administrative fee for Filipinos who initially availed of the program.