New regulation for expatriate workers published

Migrant workers wait for a bus to take them to the airport for repatriation. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

New regulation for expatriate workers in the Maldives has been published on the government gazette. 

The regulation by the Economic Ministry states that expatriates are to be recruited for work in accordance with the Employment Act.

A letter of appointment must be issued to the expatriate when the worker is brought to the Maldives, which will be regarded as the agreement between employee-employer until an official agreement is signed.

Permits stipulated in the regulation are to be applied through the Expat Online system of the Ministry. A local representative is to be designated for communications by employers through the system. 

Employment approvals will only be handed out after the obtainment of quotas by the Ministry. Any employer who is a registered business, individual or legal entity as well as government offices can apply for this quota.

MVR 2,000 is to be paid annually as quota fees. Without the obtainment of this quota, it is illegal to employ an expatriate worker.

The employer is also to arrange the travel of workers who wish to return home upon mutual consent or expiration of the agreement. 

Relevant institutions are to be informed by employers if an expatriate worker is missing or cannot be contacted, under the regulation.

Details of deposit funds and refunds are also stipulated in the regulation. 

Employers are also to receive the expatriate employee upon their arrival at a port of entry into the Maldives and accommodation is also to be arranged by employers. Accommodation requirements are formed under a policy through this regulation. 

The employee, if employed on an inhabited island or city, is to be registered by the employer. If working on an uninhabited island or industrial island, the worker is to be registered at the registry of the council of the nearest inhabited island or city. 

It is estimated that there are around 63,000 undocumented migrants in the Maldives, with a total collective population of expatriates numbered at around 200,000. The government is working to repatriate undocumented expatriates and is targeting to repatriate 20,000 by the end of 2020.