FILIPINOS overstaying in Bahrain may avail of the kingdom's amnesty program, which will enable them to leave the country without paying any fees or legalize their employment there.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday the Philippine Embassy in Manama is currently coordinating with the Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) of Bahrain on the implementation details of the amnesty program.

It has also "began disseminating initial information to the Filipino community in Bahrain, and will update them accordingly."

The LMRA recently announced that a general amnesty for illegal foreign workers in Bahrain will be offered starting on July 1.

The amnesty period is set to run for six months--from July 1 to December 31.

It will cover foreign workers who are overstaying or are considered runaway cases.

However, "illegal/undocumented foreign workers in Bahrain who face police/criminal cases or travel ban cases are not eligible under the amnesty program."

The amnesty program offers two options for illegal and undocumented foreign workers in Bahrain.

First, they may be allowed to leave Bahrain without paying any immigration penalties/fines and with the possibility of return at any time regardless of legal status (no blacklisting).

Second, they may legalize their employment status in Bahrain with a new employer without the consent of the previous employer, and subject to certain conditions.

Qualified Filipinos who wished to avail of the amnesty are advised by the embassy to be ready with copies of their passports and Central Population Registry (CPR) cards, which are necessary for purposes of immigration status check.

There are no fees involved in availing of the amnesty program, the statement said.

However, Filipinos in the kingdom are warned against unscrupulous persons posing as agents or middlemen and charging fees for this purpose.

Filipinos qualified and wishing to avail of the amnesty program may come to the Philippines Embassy or call the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) at (+973) 3995-3235 or POLO at (+973) 1774-0951, for information or assistance.

They may also visit the LMRA website at www.lmra.bh or call the LMRA at (973) 1750-6055, for more information. (CVB/Sunnex)