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Undocumented workers face deportation from Maldives

Posted on Apr 25 2014 | IANS

Male, April 25 : The Maldives government is deporting thousands of undocumented workers, with a special focus on capital Male, an official said Friday.

In addition to the approximately 110,000 migrant workers registered in the Maldives, the number of undocumented workers has been estimated to be as high as 44,000, Xinhua reported.

Many workers live in congested labour quarters owned by locals.

During a previous drive, about 4,000 illegal migrants who voluntarily registered themselves were deported but were allowed to return legally to the Maldives after six months.

However, under the current programme, those deported will have to wait five to 10 years before returning.

"Within three to four months, the whole of Male will be cleaned," Maldives Defence and National Security Minister Mohamed Nazim, who is also in charge of the immigration department, told reporters.

"They can't live in Male. When I say this, it will happen."

Nazim told media the government was planning a "very strong operation" to reduce the number of undocumented migrant workers in Maldives "for the safety and security of everyone and for the economy".

The operation will be carried out jointly by Maldives National Defence Force, the Maldives Police Service, the Department of Immigration and Emigration, and other relevant institutions.

Those detained in the operation will be deported using the money deposited by their employers when they were recruited.

A special facility has now been assigned to keep those who will be detained in the operation.

Local councils will implement the operation in the outlying islands.

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