The Immigration department of Maldives started investigating 67 employers who are accused of irregularities in recruiting foreign workers, including Bangladeshis.
The employers, including individuals and local businesses, are accused of “neglecting their responsibilities” over the foreign workers and “administrative action” has been taken against 27 companies, the immigration department said in a statement Thursday night.
The probe has flagged suspected fraud in the issuance of quotas, including invalid documentation and approval of quotas in excess of the number of workers needed for projects, reported local newspaper Maldives Independent yesterday.
After collecting “documentary evidence” related to the cases, the immigration department has decided to work with the police to forward cases to the Prosecutor General’s office.
Taking measures to tackle fraudulent recruitment and corruption in the awarding of expatriate quotas is a target of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s first 100 days in office.
An estimated 63,000 foreign workers work in the Maldives illegally out of a migrant population of 144,607, mostly Bangladeshis and Indians.
Controller of Immigration Mohamed Ahmed Hussain told the press that quotas were issued illegally under the previous government.
Small cafés and guesthouses were authorised to bring up to 100 workers. “For some projects there were 3,700 quotas issued in violation of the rules,” he alleged, adding that such permits have since been cancelled.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Economic Development took over the mandate for setting quotas and granting employment approvals from the immigration department, which will continue issuing visas and work permits.