MCC Fines Market Stall Owners for Employing Foreigners Without Permits

The Male’ City Council has imposed fines on nine stall owners operating in the Travelers Market for employing foreigners without the necessary work permits. This action comes as concerns mount over the increasing number of undocumented foreign workers in the Maldives.

In March, the city council levied fines totalling USD 129 for initial offences. Stall owners found repeatedly violating the regulations will face escalating penalties, including a USD 260 fine and a formal “red notice.” If infractions persist, the council reserves the right to confiscate the stall.

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While the stalls within the Travelers Market and the local market are primarily owned by Maldivian citizens, a substantial number of foreign nationals are employed in their operation. The rising presence of undocumented foreign workers has become a significant issue – not only in the markets but also within the fishing industry. Some residents express concern that this trend could lead to job losses and the displacement of local businesses.

The presence of a large undocumented workforce can negatively impact the economy in several ways. It can potentially suppress wages for local workers, reduce the government’s tax revenue, and strain public resources. Additionally, undocumented workers may be more vulnerable to exploitation and less likely to stand up for fair wages and safe working conditions.

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