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Maldives bans Bangladeshi workers

Expat workers

The Maldives has imposed a year-long ban on recruiting Bangladeshi workers as it says the quota for Bangladeshi workers was already reached.

The authorities imposed the ban on Wednesday and announced a  programme to regularise undocumented foreign workers. Migrant workers from Bangladesh would be able to register at an office set up in Male,  said Ahmed Fayyaz, minister of economics in the Maldives.

The country has fixed a quota of 150,000 migrant workers for a country and Bangladesh has already reached the limit, he said.

The restriction, however, will not be applicable to skilled workers.

“We decided to impose a limit for each country. In determining this limit, we refer to the unskilled labour category and due to the current situation, we are unable to allow any more Bangladeshi labourers into the country at the moment,” said Fayyaz.

Contacted, ATM Moshfiqur Rahman, first secretary (labour) of  Bangladesh Embassy in the Maldives, told The Daily Star over the phone that the authorities of Maldives had not informed them anything about the ban.

Asked about the exceeding of 150,000 quotas of Bangladeshi workers,  he said it was very unlikely. The number of Bangladeshis could be hardly more than a lakh.

“However, we have been requesting the Maldives authorities to regularise some 40,000 undocumented Bangladeshis. We haven’t heard anything from their part until now,” he said.

Moshfiqur added that a migrant could become undocumented in the Maldives  if he or she changed job and if their work permit was expired.

There are also cases of Bangladeshi migrant workers getting hired but not paid, he said, adding in those cases workers change their job and become undocumented. The task force formed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih decided to impose the temporary ban. The rules may be reviewed in this decision impacts the economy negatively in the next six months, he added.

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