Govt. prepares to take strict action against expats engaged in illegal trade

Undocumented expatriate workers at the Galolhu National Stadium for appointments for Economic Ministry's regularization program on October 19, 2019. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

Registrar of Companies, Mariyam Visam says the Economic Ministry is preparing to take strict action against expatriate workers engaged in commercial activities carried out in in violation of local laws and regulations.

Visam made the comment during discussions with the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Relations Committee regarding undocumented expatriate workers in Maldives this Monday.

Visam said that an effective remedy to the issue of illegal commercial activities by expatriates required revisions to the Foreign Investment Act.

She said that the only punishment for expatriates found to engage in such commercial activities was a fine – which is ineffective because it is often left unpaid.

“Even if the parties engaged in irregular practices are fined, they don’t go to any state institution to actually pay the fine. We are therefore looking to introduce stricter forms of punishment [such as seizure of assets, imprisonment] as we work on revisions to the law on trade by expatriates in Maldives [the Foreign Investment Act],” said Visam.

She said that the Economic Ministry was presently taken action in response to reports of such commercial activities by conducting inspections.