The Gulf States are set to become a no-go area for black-listed expats as governments discuss barring deportees from one state from all six states.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) labour ministers are meeting in October to discuss the proposal in more detail.

The aim is to set up a shared database of deported expats and to refuse them entry into any GCC state.

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The database will include details of all expats who have broken civil and criminal laws or gained a conviction in court or have a court-ordered deportation against their name.

The listing is controversial as many expats are deported for relatively trivial offences, like failing to pay a debt, bouncing a cheque or breaking traffic laws, including driving through a red light.

“Anyone who has their name entered on the database will have to be subject of a police complaint with witnesses to the offence,” said a GCC spokesman.

The spokesman also explained the black-list measure has come about because of security concerns at airports and borders.

“One issue we want to tackle is expats being deported and then obtaining false travel documents in a different name to re-enter the same country or another GCC state,” said the spokesman.

According to the spokesman, 900 deported expats tried to re-enter Bahrain during the past four years on forged travel documents. The offenders were caught by police matching their fingerprints at the airport and border posts.

Meanwhile the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) expressed reservations against the proposals.

Disputed debts

Bahrain has an average 30 expats awaiting deportation at any one time, said a spokesman.

“The scheme is likely to lead to a shortage of workers in some sectors and will affect freedom of movement for many expats.

“It doesn’t seem fair that someone can owe a small amount of money in one country that could be disputed and this will stop them from visiting other countries.”

The GCC comprises six nations – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

Most rely heavily on expat workers from labourers to highly-skilled executives and specialist consultants.

Saudi Arabia has an expat population of around 9 million out of a population of 30 million. Although the populations of the other countries are much smaller, most have an expat population of around a third of the total population.