Government to Repatriate 20,000 Undocumented Expatriates

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has made a statement revealing that the government hopes to repatriate at least 20,000 undocumented expatriate migrants in the Maldives before the end of the year, 2020.

The government evaluates that more than 70,000 illegal migrant workers reside in different areas of the Maldives from which 90% of the workers are believed to be residents from Bangladesh. The government suspended bringing in any additional workers from Bangladesh last year.

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Speaking at the Parliament, Minister Fayyaz said the adjournment of bringing in blue-collar workers from Bangladesh was effective in stopping the illegal entry of Bangladeshi citizens, which in turn decreased the number of undocumented migrant workers in the Maldives, on Monday.

Approximately 1,000 skilled laborers entered the country, all of whom had already requested and been granted permission for entry prior to September 19, After the suspension became effective on September 19, 2019. No other Bangladeshi workers have entered the country since then, said Fayyaz.

The minister had highlighted the government’s regularization program organized to register undocumented and illegal expatriate workers was well received, and that numerous workers are cooperating with the repatriation opportunities provided by the government as a result of the program. Regarding this, over 4,000 laborers have been repatriated to date, said the minister.

“We hope to repatriate 20,000 undocumented expatriates with their cooperation. We do not wish to repatriate them against their wishes. The government’s attempts to regularize undocumented expatriates paved the way to a smooth transition – had we forced them to leave the country, the response would not have been as cooperative,” said the minister.

Minister revealed that Maldives come across serious migrant issues and that it would take time to solve the matter appropriately. Regardless, whichever action that is taken now to address the issue will be taken, assured the minister.

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