Foreign Ministry claims resolution found to Indian visa “difficulties”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said recent difficulties experienced by Maldivians in trying to obtain medical visas for travel to India have been resolved through ongoing discussions between the two countries.

Late last month, Maldivian citizens wishing to apply for visas allowing them to travel to India for medical treatment were forced to queue outside the Indian High Commission in Male’, sometimes for days, as a result of tightened restrictions by Indian authorities.

Indian authorities stressed last week that tighter visa restrictions for Maldivians were  a “signal” for the country’s government to address a number of its concerns about how the nation treated migrant workers.  Among its key concerns was the practice of Maldivian employers confiscating the passports of foreign workers.

The Indian High Commission has maintained that the tightened restrictions were nonetheless in line with a bilateral agreement signed back in 1979 and its appropriation by Maldivian authorities in the intervening years.

Ibrahim Muaz Ali, Communication Director for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, told Minivan News this week that talks with the Indian High Commission were ongoing in an attempt to resolve difficulties facing people wishing to travel to India for treatment.

He confirmed that the discussions were focused in areas such as facilitating the transfer of Indian prisoners suffering from ill health.

Muaz added that the issue of tighter restrictions for medical travel had been “directly linked” to concerns raised by the Indian High Commission.  He added that although no agreements had as of this week been made on issues such as prisoner transfer, Maldivians were once again able to travel for medical care without facing significant queues.

“Before there have been lots of difficulties [with getting medical visas],” he claimed. “But we have now been given 50 to 60 ticket numbers a day [for processing the documents].”

Muaz said that with discussions ongoing, the foreign ministry has been able to start a phone service allowing applicants seeking a medical visa to India to SMS their details to a special number. Under its agreement with the High Commission, the ministry has said it can then follow up with each person using the service to facilitate medical travel.

Muaz added that in cases of serious illness, such as patients wishing to travel abroad for cancer treatment, patients were receiving fast tracked entry into India.

High Commission concerns

Asked about the efforts being undertaken to address concerns raised by the Indian High Commission – such as the transfer of prisoners – Muaz said that the Foreign Ministry had been looking at the issue.

Local media reported Thursday (January 3) that efforts were being made by Maldivian authorities “within the contours of the law” to release Indian nationals imprisoned in the Maldives in cases where they were found to have been in ill health.

Muaz added that after having been asked to facilitate such a transfer by the High Commission, no decision had yet been taken on how the request would be handled.

“What we have been asked to do at present is a very broad request [from Indian authorities],” he said. “It is an ongoing process and we are looking at the issue, but we have not yet confirmed any agreement.”

Speaking to Minivan News last week, a spokesperson for the Indian High Commission said that the issue of transferring ill prisoners was one of a number of concerns it hoped to see addressed.

“This is one of the areas [for the Maldives to address] and we have requested for either a pardon or repatriation as per an agreement signed during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister in November 2011,” the spokesperson said.

Back in October, a senior Indian diplomatic official in the Maldives expressed concern over the Maldives’ culture of confiscating passports of migrant workers arriving to the country from across South Asia – likening the practice to slavery.

The High Commission also claimed during 2012 that skilled expatriate workers from India, employed in the Maldives education sector, had continued to be “penalised” due to both government and private sector employers failing to fulfill their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, a senior Indian medical official working in the country also alleged last year that expatriate professionals were regularly facing intimidation and fraud in the country from employers and some members of the public.


8 thoughts on “Foreign Ministry claims resolution found to Indian visa “difficulties””

  1. Saadat Manto, the great Pakistani writer/poet, wrote about a true instance of a mob vandalising Gangaram Hospital at Lahore during partition of India. The reason of arson was Gangaram Hospital was named after Sir Gangaram, a philanthropist who happened to be a Hindu. Police resorted to firing on unruly mob - one of leader was injured and mob immediately rushed him to Gangaram Hospital - the one they came to destroy. Enough said.

  2. what sort of ideas these bald hesds in Soopr Indian South Block can get? Punishing people who require medical care at their own expenses...??? who else will go to this India ?

    These bald heads who think they are the most intelligent people in the world....have invited Chinese jut 20 Km from Indian Southern Cost...and completely isolated this SOOOPER Indiya from all neighbours.

    Give then paper title Bharat Rtana and send then home ......

  3. Seriously,,,? how long is an agreement valid? 1979 you say??? long before even i was born???? hey pathetic politicians in Maldives govt and Indian commission... shut the f up if your talks are about helping the citizens with an agreement signed in 1979!!!!... are you nuts??/ r u crazy? all these years what were the foreign ministers and ambassadors doing? drinking up on the 1979 act? no1 renewed, no one revised... shows how much our leaders love us... if this agreement was renewed for the better of our citizens,, today the indian commission cannot do anythn out of the terms... is there any charge for negligence of a minister's duty? is so all ministers from 1979 need to be charged for negligence of their duty... bulls**t talk

  4. Of course the GMR issue is not political and Mr. Dr. Samadunyaa is confident that the Indian government will not get involved in our ousting of GMR from Maldives. After all we did that for "Maaih vi Islaam Dheenaai guamah takai" and the Hindhus bloody well understand it. Que up que up. next round will be for potatoes and onions. - news from Nasreenaabadh.

  5. why are yu going to india yu can get treatd i yur island the indian govt built yu a hospital and gave yu wih its specialist what have yu done blamming india even during tsunami indian govt helped yu but yu forgot thinking big what yu people are beggers yu only beg beg from other countries we dont need yu go to pakis or somali or yemen or afghanistan this is the fututre of yu

  6. yes is the Soooper India built Maldive Airport..and developed tourism to international standard.and started first telecommunication here..made Maldivien to speak INGLISH (fortunately not)..Many former Maldives leaders educated in ....Sri lanka not in Soooper India.

    Hospitals and Aides were the ideas of Indian South Block bald heads...who thought that they can buy Maldiviens Bhutanese...he he he ..from the day Chinese opened their embassy in Male....these bald heads are going to toilet every 10 minutes.

    How many Indian made equipments in Indira Gandhi(???) hospital work properly.? many are really qualified specilists?

    Either Maldivian government of patients pay themselves for their medical treatment abroad......

    Many people dont know that many many years ago President Naseer orderd Indian Borah merchants to leave the country within 24 hrs...for their high handed activities ....Indians should be thankful for giving 7 days to GMR to pack and leave.


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