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Visa hardships

Agi Joshua

I fully agree with Meera Ravi’s views, ‘A difficult decision’ (GDN, September 2), about the decision to raise the minimum salary for an expat family visa to BD400.

I personally know a person who got married in January.

His wife had a good job in Kerala, but resigned in the hope of joining her husband here in Bahrain.

Then suddenly the rule changed and the husband was not entitled to a family visa anymore, as his basic salary was less than BD400.

He had no choice but to find a job in Bangalore and move there.

His employer in Bahrain had a hard time losing an efficient employee, leaving a project halfway through.

There are also families where only the husband is employed, but the wife contributes by offering tuition, babysitting or tailoring services, etc, to make ends meet.

Now they are forced to leave Bahrain, or send their families home. It is quite difficult for them to run two households, one here and another in their home country.

A lack of hostel facilities – where men can live in separate rooms in the same building with common catering and laundry facilities – makes life very expensive, as they mostly depend on hotels and laundries.

More than financial constraints, the emotional strain of not living with their family takes its toll on mental and physical health and working ability. All this leads to the middle-income group leaving Bahrain, which will affect the economy.

I wish authorities would take into consideration the plight of the expat community before enforcing such rules.

We see Bahrain as our second home and wish to contribute towards the bright future of this beautiful country.

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