The Gulf states will decide by the end of the year policies on customs and immigration for expatriates living in the Gulf and commuting via the planned GCC Railway, a World Bank official involved with the process told Gulf News.
They are currently considering immigration policies on how expatriates can travel from one Gulf country to another via the integrated railway system, said Ramiz Al Assar, resident adviser at the GCC Secretariat General at the World Bank, on the sidelines of the Middle East Rail conference.
One option being considered is the country of origin, that the expatriates are travelling from within the Gulf, he said.
The issue of customs is one of the biggest challenges facing the Gulf countries in the integrated railway project, he said during his presentation at the conference.
Cross-border points, customs, security, smuggling and immigration for expatriates are some of the “sensitive issues” that the Gulf states must deal with, he said.
Tenders will be awarded in April for a proposed $4.5 billion causeway between Saudi and Bahrain as part of the GCC Railway network, said Ramiz Al Assar, resident adviser at the GCC Secretariat General at the World Bank.
A GCC Railway Authority may be established by 2014 to co-ordinate and organize with the Gulf states for the implementation of the rail projects, he added.
A proposal will be put forward to study the move, he said. The study will take about a year.