Friday, December 24, 2004

25 Dec 2004

Expats Welcome Bahrain's E-Visa K. S. Ramkumar . Arab News

JEDDAH, 25 December 2004 - Local expats, especially those traveling for
business and leisure, have welcomed Bahrain's initiative to simplify the
immigration process with e-visa.

Both expats and travel agents said over the weekend that this was a positive
move. "This is something some of the other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries
could follow," said Arshad Muhammad Chaudhry, a Pakistani electrical

Residents of 33 countries outside the GCC can apply online at www. evisa.
gov. bh, allowing them to download their visit visa anywhere in the world
before traveling to Bahrain. "While the ideal scenario is still a single
visa for the Arab world to facilitate travel between the Gulf states, we've
to look at new and innovative ways to make the immigration process as smooth
and simple as possible for international visitors," Nasser said. The visit
visas are valid for two weeks for a fee of seven Bahraini dinars
($18.50). As per the existing practice, GCC resident expats can get their
visas on arrival in Bahrain, but the e-visa facility, if utilized, can help
reduce the time involved in the completion of the visa process. In addition,
the downloaded visa removes the need to pay in local currency. The issue of
one visa for the Arab world is included for discussion at the first Arabian
Hotel Investment Conference being held in Dubai from April 30 to May 2,
Nasser said. "Indeed, a majority of our advisory panel of 50 regional
tourism leaders identified visa restrictions as a challenge in this
marketplace. This initiative from Bahrain has shown how governments can
harness technology to improve efficiency and therefore service," he added.


D. G. from Riyadh I had an accident while working in a factory and was
seriously injured. More than a half of my left thumb was cut off. It
happened two years ago. The company did not pay any compensation for the
physical damage to me. Now, I am going on final-exit and already signed a
final settlement. The final settlement did not include any compensation for
the physical damage I suffered while at work. Is the company fair in doing
so? What does the Labor Law say about it?

You have waited too long to ask this question. You should have moved fast to
preserve your rights. This is what the Labor Law and all laws enjoin. In
most procedural laws there are also time bars for filing a case before a
court. If you miss a time bar you may not be able to file your case. You are
entitled to full medical treatment for your thumb from your employer and
from the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), if your employer
had subscribed to it for you. Some employers neglect this and end up being
personally liable for medical expenses. Your medical case should be well
documented for you to claim your entitlement at this late hour. Basically
your employer is responsible for your medical expenses unless he has
subscribed for you (which is his obligation according to the law) to GOSI.
If your employer had not subscribed, he will personally be liable to pay all
your expenses.

You did not mention anything about your sick leave during treatment at the
time of the incident. For up to three months of the sick leave your employer
must bear your full salary for the first month and three-quarters of it for
the following two months. If GOSI is responsible, they have regulations that
enjoin you and your employer to have contacted them at the time of the
incident and submit to their procedures to carry out their medical
obligations. Usually they would refer you to their own doctors and
hospitals. If you apply now for your medical expenses with the help of your
employer, you may still have a chance to be compensated by GOSI. If your
employer is established to be responsible for your medical treatment, he
should pay you within the final settlement, when you service is terminated.


V. A. from Riyadh I joined a turn-key company in March 2003 with a specified
contract of two years and a monthly basic salary of SR1,500. Now, I am
planning to go on final-exit when my contract finishes. I understand that
under a certain article of the Labor Law, after completing two years of the
contract I could get service benefits of one-month salary and vacation pay
of one month. But my employer tells me that I will get nothing. Is it right?
How can I claim my benefits? How does the Labor Ministry deal with those
employers who violate the law?

You are right that you must get one month (ESB) for both years of your
service (Article 86). It must be calculated on the basis of your monthly
wage. Wage is the salary plus all other allowances if any, monthly averaged.
These include housing, transportation food and schooling. You seem not to
have taken any vacation during these two years. Here, you should read what
your contract says and follow it; whether it is one month annually, more or
less. If vacation is not mentioned in your contract, the law (Article 153)
gives you a minimum vacation of 15 days for every 12 months of service. In
this case for 24 months of service, you are entitled to be paid one full
month's salary in cash, for your unused vacation. Note that the ESB is
calculated on wage, while for salary it is calculated on salary. As to how
companies that violate the law are viewed by the Labor Ministry, the answer
is that the ministry is carefully monitoring the performance of companies.
If a company is found to have repeated violations this attracts the
attention of the labor office to keep a closer watch on the company's
activities prompting frequent summons and trials.


X from Jeddah I am working with a multinational company. On Nov. 28,
2004, I received a contract termination notice from my company stating that
due to staff reduction my contract was being terminated from Nov. 30, 2004.
The next day I was given all my dues along with one month's notice pay as
well and my flight schedule which was Dec. 3, 2004. Two days later and due
to some urgency the company requested me to work for 10 additional days.
Upon confirmation from the company for the payment of the additional days,
the company representative told me that since I have already been paid one
month's notice pay, I will be paid only the overtime hours, which are only
three hours per day. My question is: Does company have any right to oblige
me to work three hours overtime only while in reality I work 11 hours?

Since your service terminates on Dec. 30 you can always apologize and insist
on traveling to your country. You are not supposed to have any contractual
relation with your company and should deal with them as a complete outsider.
In this case neither your old hourly or overtime rate applies. The
calculation of your wage should be similar to the wage of any trained
outsider who may be requested to do the same work for your company. This is
legally known as the "similar wage". Having been with the company before, it
does not give the company the right to anything but a similar wage. I would
estimate your similar hourly rate to be three times your old regular
contractual hourly rate. Your regular hourly rate would then be your
previous salary multiplied by 12 months to get the yearly salary, divided by
52 to get the weekly rate, then again divided by eight to get the hourly
rate. Multiply this contractual hourly rate by three to get the similar wage
of an outsider. You multiply this similar rate by the number of extra hours
which you worked after the termination of your service. That is what you
should be paid and that is what a labor judge may order if the case goes to


Rao's funeral site sparks row Saturday December 25 2004 08:20 IST IANS
HYDERABAD: Environmentalists on Friday opposed the government's decision to
cremate former prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao on the banks of Hussain
Sagar Lake here and erect a memorial there, saying it would deplete the
city's green cover.

NGO Forum for Better Hyderabad (FBH) claimed the state government's decision
violated Andhra Pradesh High Court order against using parks for cremations.

The court, in its order following the cremation of former chief minister M.
Chenna Reddy at Indira Park near the lake in 1998, had barred cremations in
parks and other public places, FBH convenor Capt. J. Rama Rao pointed out.

"The lake is already shrinking with concrete structures coming up around it.
If this is not stopped no park or open space will be left in the area," he

The forum submitted a memorandum to state chief secretary Mohan Kanda to
reconsider the decision to have Rao's funeral by the lake as it violated the
court order and would further reduce the breathing space in the heart of the

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