The immigration department has warned that permits allowing employers to bring expatriate workers into the country could be withheld if they are found to be forcefully retained.
Local media has reported the department as noting that the practice remains common, as does the practice of some employees demanding money before passports are released.
Such methods appeared on a list of grievances compiled by the Indian High Commission in Male’ early this year. Indian authorities said at the time that tightened restrictions over providing medical visas to Maldivians were a “signal” for the country’s government to address a number of concerns about the nation’s treatment of migrant workers.
The immigration department’s warning comes as the incoming government attempts to improve relations with the Indian government, with the Indian Prime Minister today extending an invitation to new President Abdulla Yameen.
Bangladesh recently lifted a ban on worker migration to the Maldives after a government delegation was sent to investigate allegations of fraudulent recruitment, forced labour and migrant unemployment.
The country had temporarily blocked its nationals from migrating to the Maldives in September – an action described by one key local employer as a response to decades of failure by Maldivian authorities to deal with “human trafficking” and labour management.