7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018

Free visa frauds are destroying families

We sometimes see poor men (expatriates) sitting on the road. They are jobless and penniless, with no idea of how to get food. How are they living here with no job and money?

Most of them are holders of the so-called free visas - which they purchase for BD1,400. There are a lot of sponsors who sell these free visas to poor expatriates. They tell the purchaser to pay BD1,400 for "a good job, with all facilities."

Poor expatriates - mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis - buy these "free visas" from agents. They then arrive in Bahrain and come face to face with the reality - that there is no job and no home. They paid BD1,400 for just the 'free visa'!

There are a lot of poor expatriates who purchased these visas and are now in Bahrain with no job or proper shelter.

Last year, a 21-year-old boy came to Bahrain from Pakistan. He purchased a free visa worth BD1,400 hoping that he would work in Bahrain and support his family. His mother was a widow. She took loans to purchase the free visa and send her son to Bahrain for a job.

When he bought the visa, he did his phone interview too. His sponsors promised him a good job with a salary of BD300, food and accommodation. He was so happy that he had a really good job to support his family.

When he entered Bahrain, no one was there to receive him at the airport. One man approached and told him that his "boss is currently out of Bahrain so you have to wait for the boss to return, then you can join your job".

The man told him to "live somewhere else and wait for the boss. When the boss returns, we will contact you to come and join us for the job".

The poor boy was shocked. But one of his relatives was in Bahrain; he called him and lived with his relative for at least a month. Every day he would call that man and ask about his job. The man always said "wait, we will call you." But the truth was that they had never called him. He became a victim of so-called free visa fraud sponsors.

The poor boy was utterly disappointed; his mother always used to cry for him.

No one gave him a job and after six months the boy returned to his country and is struggling to pay back the debt of BD1,400, which his mother took as loans for his visa.

Please sponsors, don't be too selfish for money. You don't have any idea how you are breaking hearts.

I also request the authorities to take some serious steps to completely demolish this system. Sameer Ahmed

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