Indian businessmen and tourists have seen the greatest benefit of Bahrain’s new visa policy according to new statistics released by the Kingdom
Indian businessmen and tourists have seen the greatest benefit of Bahrain’s new visa policy according to new statistics released by the Kingdom. Indian nationals have been able to apply for eVisas from October 2014, and since then have been issued more eVisas than visitors from any of the other countries made eligible by the changes in regulations.
Data from October 2014 to February 2015 reveals that 752 Indian nationals received eVisas to the Kingdom of Bahrain, 33 per cent of the approximately 2,300 eVisas issued to nationals from 32 newly eligible countries.
Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa, assistant undersecretary for the general directorate of nationality, passports and residence affairs, Bahrain’s ministry of interior said, “We are pleased that the data shows that a significant number of Indians are already benefiting from a greater ease of access into Bahrain, supporting the business and tourism sectors in the Kingdom. The second phase of updates will lead to further benefits for Indian visitors, with increased flexibility and expanded eligibility.”
The government of Bahrain has also announced a second phase of updates to the Kingdom’s visa policy, which will allow Indian business visitors and tourists to spend longer periods of time in the country. From April 1, 2015 business visas will be valid for a month and are multi-entry, whilst visitor visas are valid for three months and are also multi-entry. Indians residents in the GCC will also be eligible to receive multi-entry visas on arrival or through online application, making it easier for expatriates living in the region to travel to Bahrain.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) said, “India is one of Bahrain’s most important trading partners, with total non-oil trade between the two countries in excess of US$ 1.2 billion per year. Bahrain’s new visa policy will improve access for Indians and Indian businesses to the Bahrain and GCC market, currently worth US$ 1.6 trillion and expected to reach US$ two trillion by 2020. The new visa policy is an important development that places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region.”
A number of leading Indian companies have established offices or facilities in Bahrain to access the fast-growing GCC market, including; Chemco, RBH MEDEX, First Flight Couriers, Ion Exchange, Pythhos Technology, Equitec Software Technology, Sun Shed Energy, JBF Industries, Canara Bank, Tech Mahindra, HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda, Tata Consultancy Services, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India.