Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Reeko Moosa Manik has submitted a Bill to amend the Immigration Act by introducing tougher penalties.
Speaking during the preliminary debate on the Bill this Tuesday morning, Moosa said the number of illegal migrant workers in Maldives is estimated to be as high as 100,000 and posed a danger to Maldivian community.
He said that three expatriate workers brought to work at one of his companies tested positive for HIV and two of them fled into Maldives as they were being transported to authorities for deportation.
“When we tried to send them back after they tested positive for HIV, they told the people who came to take them away that they would pay MVR 5,000, and to let them go. Two of them have fled. We were only able to deport one,” said Moosa.
Moosa said that he has been able to determine illegal workers were being employed to work on mega construction projects run by well-established companies, not just smaller companies.
He said that such illegal workers were being taken advantage of, and treated poorly.
He said he shared his concerns with high-level officials of the previous administration on multiple occasions.
“The police don’t have the legal power to arrest them and take them away. The control lies with the Immigration. The police want to control this,” said Moosa.
Moosa has proposed amending the Immigration Act to penalize illegal migrant workers, the person or persons who enforces the worker’s disappearance and any accomplice with a one-year prison sentence and a fine of MVR 500,000 to MVR 1 million.