Over 1,900 illegal expatriates deported

The department of immigration has deported over 1,900 illegal migrant workers so far this year.

The department revealed in a press release last week that 1,953 expatriates were identified and deported in 12 operations conducted in 2015. More than 8,800 undocumented workers were deported last year.

Some 36 migrant workers were meanwhile denied entry this year due to medical reasons.

The immigration department media officer told CNM the migrant workers do not have their passports with them, which forces the department to make new passports through embassies.

Embassies in the Maldives are able to make about 30 passports or travel documents a week, while the number of illegal migrant workers the department plans to deport were higher than 30.

The police meanwhile caught 33 undocumented workers last week in a joint operation conducted by the immigration department at the T-jetty and auction shop areas in Malé.

According to the 2014 census, there are 58,683 expatriates residing in the Maldives. However, the department of national planning has said the figure was much lower than numbers recorded by the immigration department.

NGO Transparency Maldives (TM) estimates there are 200,000 migrant workers in the Maldives – two-thirds of the country’s population.

A government report in 2011 revealed human trafficking to be the Maldives’ second most lucrative industry after tourism – worth an estimated US$123 million a year.

The Maldives ratified an Anti-Trafficking Act in December 2013, but TM says implementation, monitoring and enforcement of laws and regulations are crucial to prevent human trafficking.


Immigration department fines 25 businesses for hiring illegal migrant workers

The department of immigration has reportedly fined 21 guest houses, four teashops, and 14 shops for hiring illegal migrant workers in a crackdown across the Maldives.

The immigration department discovered the undocumented expatriates in an operation conducted with assistance from the police.

A fine of MVR50,000 (US$3,242) is specified in the law for hiring illegal migrant workers.

The immigration department deported 6,400 undocumented workers between January and July this year.

special operation to deport undocumented workers was announced on April 24, with Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim – also in charge of the immigration department – promising “the whole Malé will be cleaned [of migrant workers]” within three weeks.