Wednesday, 10 August 2011

30 Steps Forward

Bahrain’s National Dialogue, which began on the 1st July, came to a close earlier this month with the final session being driven by the country’s expat community. Around 60 people representing religious institutions, expatriate clubs and public figures took part in the event, at the Isa Cultural Centre in Juffair.

Participants in the National Dialogue attend the opening session

The National Dialogue is a forum which brings together the full spectrum of Bahrain's political, social, and economic groups. This year’s event was highly anticipated in the wake of political unrest earlier this year and was earmarked as an opportunity to restore national and international confidence.

More than 30 key recommendations were put forward in the closing meeting including:

  • The formation of an expat body to represent the Kingdom’s 60,000 strong expat community
  • Land ownership rights for those expats who have lived in Bahrain for 50 years or more
  • The children of expatriates being granted residency after the age of 18 so they can remain legally with their parents
  • Residence permits for elderly dependents were also recommended
  • Measure to help young foreign residents integrate into the Arabic community

In last year’s Expat Explorer Survey, Bahrain topped the charts for career opportunities but was lagging behind in terms of quality of life. It will be interesting to see, if and when these measures are enforced, if Bahrain can score equally well across the board.

Do you feel the expats have a fair deal in your country of residence? What could be done better? Get in touch to share your thoughts.

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