The Maldives has imposed stricter regulations on foreign employment and has commenced sending back undocumented workers in the country. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 4,582 undocumented Bangladeshi nationals have been repatriated from the Maldives so far. Will this create a shortage in the labour market?
“I believe a shortage will come, but not to a great extent. The shortage will not be seen immediately as the economy is now in recession due to the pandemic. However, I think we are likely to see a shortage in the future,” said a Finance Industry professional and entrepreneur. The labour market might face a shortage in supply after the economy recovers from the pandemic.
It is true that the Maldivian economy is underperforming at this time. Demand for products and services are low and so are the occupancy rates in the tourism industry. According to an expert in the hospitality industry, the Maldives is not likely to face a shortage. This is because, during these times, businesses are aiming to lower costs and hence, would employ fewer workers. There might be a small chance of this in tasks such as cleaning and other manual jobs, but unless arrival rates improve, it is very unlikely that a shortage occurs.
As per the new guidelines that will be in effect from 13th October, employers need to provide expatriate workers with proper accommodation, appropriate amenities for hygiene purposes, such as clean water and sewerage services and access to laundry facilities. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has acknowledged the exploitation of expatriates, of which crimes reported include human trafficking, unpaid wages, poor living conditions, and other human rights violations.