Not Denying Work Visas to Indians, Says Maldives Immigration Official

Immigration Controller Mohamed Anwar of Maldives stated that immigration officers of Maldives don’t discriminate while doing their duties.


The immigration department of Maldives has countered reports, which said that the country is refusing work permits to Indian nationals, the Edition reported.

Immigration officers of Maldives don’t discriminate while doing their duties, Immigration Controller Mohamed Anwar said, according to the report. He added that the authorities will continue to give Indian citizens work permits and visas as per the country’s rules.

“We’ve been issuing business visas, dependent visas and work permits to Indian nationals and we will continue to do so, within the confines of our regulations,” Anwar was quoted as saying by the publication on June 17.

Maldivian nationals need to carry all the previous passports when they travel to India, but Maldives does not impose any such rules on Indian citizens, Anwar said, according to the Edition.

The comments were made following media reports that the Maldivian Immigration was refusing to grant work permits to Indian nationals and also refusing renewal of permits for Indian citizens in Maldives. An estimated 2,000 Indians had pending applications for work permits, the Hindu reported earlier.

The Maldives Immigration Authority has reportedly held up hundreds of work permits to Indians since earlier this year as India took a strong stand against the emergency declared by Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen in February. Around 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives, according to the report.

An international hotel chain had also put out on advertisement on June 13, saying, “Please note that work permits are not currently being issued to Indian Nationals.”

Foreign recruitment agencies in Maldives were also reported to have said that there were of late some issues in obtaining work permits for Indian citizens. The foreign recruitment agencies, however, said that work permits were still being given to Indian nationals in white-collar jobs in Maldives, as per the report.

Relations between India and Maldives have been on downward spiral since 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit to the island over the treatment of Opposition leaders by President Yameen. The declaration of emergency and the arrest of Opposition leaders led India to voice its concerns over the issue this February, leading to further straining of ties.

In February, Maldives declined to join India and 16 other nations for ‘Milan’— an eight-day multilateral naval exercise in the Indian Ocean, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had said. The biennial naval exercise, aimed to bolster regional cooperation, took place at the Andaman & Nicobar Islands from March 6 to 13 this year. “Maldives has not given any reason for the decision,” Lanba had then said.

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