Male, July 23 IANS | 3 months ago

Maldivian immigration officials deported 6,400 migrant workers in 2014 and are holding another 159 in detention, an official said Wednesday.

Besides a handful arrested over criminal offences, the others were all undocumented migrant workers, some having worked illegally for over 10 years, Xinhua reported.

A Maldives immigration official said that legal action would also be taken against the employers of migrant workers.

The official said that immigration staff are aware of the risk of deporting victims, and said that no legal rights were being infringed during the detention of migrant workers.

The current special operation to deport undocumented workers was announced on April 24 by Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim, who also heads the immigration department.

In December 2013 the department had conducted a voluntary repatriation program to allow for the regularisation of workers through easier documentation processes and the option to return legally after six months.

Those detained under the current program will be deported as soon as possible, and will be unable to return to the Maldives within the next ten years.

Their documents are arranged through their respective foreign offices and the travel fare is arranged with money deposited at the department prior to their arrival, or through their employers.

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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