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Wed 9 Jan 2008 02:18 AM

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Expats excluded from GCC trade pacts

Common market agreements on residency and work permits will not be extended to expats, minister says.

Expatriates who work in the Gulf will not be covered by GCC common market agreements allowing freedom of movement, residency and employment, a Bahraini minister said yesterday.

“These agreements are confined to Gulf citizens, investors and investments” UAE daily Gulf News reported labour minister Dr Majeed Al-Alawi as saying.

“The residency and work permits are the sole prerogatives of each of the six states and cannot be used by expatriates to live or work in another country” he added.

The common market gives citizens from each of the six member states the same rights and entitlements in each country.

Under the agreement, citizens have the same rights in areas such as employment, healthcare, education, social security and residence, as well as in economic activities such as trading in stock markets, setting up companies, and buying and selling properties.

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