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1/9 Persian Gulf States' Unified Immigration proposal condemned
Released 15 January 2009  By Sandeep Singh Grewal - NEWS TRACK India

Unified Immigration proposal condemned
Manama, Mon, 29 Dec 2008

Sandeep Singh Grewal - NEWS TRACK India

Manama- Human rights group and Non-government organisation have condemned a proposal of a unified immigration system, which Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are mulling.

According to the new proposal, the six GCC states- Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman will have a common immigration database system.

It would store details of migrant workers and blacklist those with pending court cases in their respective countries.

Ramon Bultron, Managing Director of Hong- Kong Based, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) said, "Our concern is that any unresolved police case against a migrant worker in any of the GCC states means he is blacklisted to work in any of the six countries, any case filed against a worker automatically leads to blacklisting even without proper investigation or due process."

If implemented a worker with an unresolved court case in Bahrain or any GCC state will be blacklisted and cannot seek employment.

The new measure by the oil rich Gulf States aims to facilitate immigration process, but Bultron said it was a threat for foreign workers.

The Gulf governments had raised the issue of unification of their immigration system through a common database last year. Bultron said the best solution to tackle the issue was to initiate an international advocacy campaign to expose the blacklisting in cooperation with governments of sending countries of migrants.

"All diplomatic means should be exerted to ensure the protection of the rights of migrant workers. Our office in Hong Kong plans to contact Non governmental Organisations in Asian countries for International advocacy," he said.

GCC countries are heavily dependent on workers from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia among other countries.

- The writer is a Bahrain-based working journalist. He can be reached at

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