Deposits made by foreign nationals wishing to work in the Maldives must now be paid to the Ministry of Finance and not the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
Controller of Immigration Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim, said there was no act regarding deposits before, and they were simply kept by the Ministry of Human Resources.
He noted the transfer to the Finance Ministry was “to make administration easier.”
The deposits are required by the government from all foreign nationals applying for a work permit in the Maldives and must be secured before entering the country, an issue that has caused consternation among employers seeking to employ foreign workers.
Chief at the work visa section of the immigration department, Hassan Khaleel, said the amounts were decided by taking into consideration expenses in case the worker needs to be repatriated.
These expenses include the cost of air-fair back to the worker’s home country, accommodation for a few days in custody, food and transport, and medication if needed.
Minister of Human Resources Youth and Sports, Hassan Lateef, said the transfer of the deposits to the Finance Ministry had been a “cabinet decision,” but noted nothing else has changed in the laws and regulations concerning the deposits.
He said the employer must pay the deposit to the ministry and can also claim it back once the worker has gone back to his or her respective country.
Lateef said the money will be used “in case the employer, or the government, wants to send the employee back to their country, or if he or she is admitted into hospital.”
He said the money would not gain any interest and if it is not collected or used, it will “sit in the Finance Ministry” and be “kept safely.”
Indian nationals pay the least, with deposits of Rf 3,500 (US$272). Sri Lankans must pay Rf 4,000 (US$311) and Bangladeshis Rf 8,000 (US$623). The highest deposit required is for Ecuadorian nationals who must pay Rf 49,000 (US$3,813).
A full list of the deposits for each country can be downloaded here.