Evacuation success amidst virus crisis
TDT | Manama
A total of 8,534 individuals arrived and departed Bahrain as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) evacuation flights, the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) announced yesterday. Of that total, 5,570 were arrivals and 2,964 were departures.
In the same context, the NPRA has taken further procedures to regulate the arrival and departure of citizens and residents to and from Bahrain, by providing qualified teams to handle the travelling process.
The NPRA has also taken many precautionary measures to ensure smooth workflow, the protection of the safety of employees and the continuation of all services, such as the issuance of passports, visas, and resident permits.
To apply social distancing rules, the NPRA has stopped receiving applicants and has restricted its services to online applications through its website, except for receiving Bahraini passports at its Isa Town branch. A contact centre was formed to answer inquiries and provide backup about online services.
Employees are instructed to wear masks, gloves and protective suits while directly dealing with travelers. For their safety, the NPRA’s buildings and service centres are disinfected periodically, while the temperature of employees is taken before entering the building.
To implement the decisions of the Executive Committee and the directives of the Interior Minister, the status of all violators, visitors and residents, were regulated and were exempted from fee payment. All visitors with expired and valid visas were extended for three months without the need to apply or pay a fee.
Fees associated with all types of resident permits were waived until the end of the year. The status of 54,891 visitors were regulated, in which their visas were extended for three months. A total of 82,065 expired and cancelled work permits were regulated to enable them to legalise their stay because of the lockdown in their countries.
In regard to foreigners who violated the residency and visa rules, the NPRA has taken a number of steps, including evacuating violators or residents and visitors who want to leave the country, without paying for the travel cost and tickets.
They were also exempted from any legal procedures because of their violations in coordination with their embassies. The violators were housed in shelters until the dates of their travel.