Dubai, May 11: Hundreds of Indian women, mainly from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, are entering Bahrain on forged visit visas to work as domestic helps, a media report said Saturday.
Unscrupulous recruitment agents are helping these women, who mainly come from poor backgrounds and are willing to pay a large amount of money to work in the Gulf nation, which is causing a major problem for Bahraini families, the Gulf Daily News reported.
“These housemaids, mainly from Andhra Pradesh, are leaving India based on a photocopy of a forged visit visa,” an official of the Indian embassy in Bahrain was quoted as saying.
“This is not a valid visit visa issued by Bahraini authorities.” The official said unscrupulous agents in India make sure that these domestic workers clear the immigration process.
Once they enter Bahrain, agents there give them legitimate working visas. The official said these women mainly come to Bahrain to work for a short time.
“Based on all the cases we have dealt with so far, these women start working in Bahraini households initially and after three months run away and come to us saying they want to go back,” he said, adding that many Bahraini families have suffered because of this.
According to Indian law, only women aged 30 years and above are eligible to work as housemaids abroad and they require a $2,500 refundable deposit.
According to the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), which runs a shelter for distressed women in Bahrain, the problem was complex and escalating.
“I cannot even tell you at this point how many cases related to women from Andhra Pradesh we have dealt since last year, who sneak out of the country illegally using forged visit visas,” MWPS chairperson Marietta Dias said.
“We dealt with about 80 cases last year, of which 60 were related to women from Andhra Pradesh,” she said.
Bahrain is home to around 300,000 expatriate Indians.