In a significant policy reversal, the Homeland Security Ministry has lifted the nearly four-year ban on hiring unskilled laborers from Bangladesh to work in the Maldives. The move comes despite concerns about the growing problem of undocumented workers, which led to the initial ban by the former government.
The decision raises legal concerns as per Article 65 (a) of the Employment Act, which stipulates that the number of workers from a single country must not exceed 100,000. However, the latest figures from the Economic Ministry reveal that 139,220 Bangladeshis are currently employed in the Maldives, creating a clash with existing regulations.
The ministry, in its announcement today, confirmed the government’s choice to allow the hiring of unskilled laborers specifically from Bangladesh. Simultaneously, they declared a temporary suspension of hiring unskilled workers from other countries. Despite this suspension, authorities will continue processing documents already uploaded to the Expat online system until today, as stated in the official announcement.
The move to resume hiring from Bangladesh is seen as a response to labor demands but raises concerns about the potential influx of undocumented workers. Immigration statistics indicate 63,000 undocumented workers in the Maldives, with unofficial estimates suggesting the figure could be closer to 100,000. The government faces the challenge of balancing labor needs with legal constraints as it navigates this significant shift in its hiring policy.