Around 700 people are believed to be living illegally in Bahrain after entering the country on Formula 1 visas. More than 9,000 visas were issued to visitors for the Bahrain Grand Prix in April and the majority of these people left the country, however about 700 are unaccounted for according to Cololnel Yousif Al Ghatam, the Assistant Under-Secretary for Ports of Entry and Investigation.
“We have found that about 700 of them have still not left Bahrain,” Al Ghatam explained. “They were granted only a two-week visa. Formula 1 visitors were granted a grace period of one month to stay in Bahrain without paying fines. We are happy that the majority of them have complied with Bahrain’s residency rules.”
When questioned over what action the authorities would take next, Al Ghatam replied, “We are contacting their sponsors. Those who arrived without sponsorship are being traced using the address in Bahrain they noted on the arrival form at the airport, which many of them have changed. However, we are confident we will and deport them.”
The authorities are now appealing for those illegally staying in Bahrain to leave immediately as the grace period ended on May 16th. Those who are found will be presented to the Public Prosecution before being deported. They are also appealing to hotels and apartment owners not to shelter any illegal residents.