Immigration detains 6 expats in ongoing raids in Maldives’ capital

Authorities raid shops in Male' City in a crackdown on illegal expatriates on July 9, 2024. (Photo/Maldives immigration Service)

Six expatriates, who Maldives Immigration Service said were working in the country illegally, were detained on Tuesday, in ongoing raids on businesses in the Maldivian capital.

In a post on X on Wednesday, Immigration said that service checked four businesses in Male’ City the previous day, in ongoing raids on small retail shops and takeaway coffeeshops run by expatriates.

The service said it detained six illegal expatriates in the raid; five males and one female.

On Monday, Immigration detained nine expatriates in a similar raid in Male’ City and Hulhumale’.

The Home Ministry has established a national taskforce to address the issue of illegal migration – a longstanding issue facing the Maldives.

Immigration said last week week that the ‘National Task Force on Combating Illegal Expatriate Operations,’ has now deported more than 1,800 expatriates.

On Thursday, the Economic Ministry released a list of 25 business sectors expatriates are prohibited from working in. This includes the sale of food and beverages, taxi services, and retail trade, including running online businesses.

The Home Ministry has also launched a special operation under the name ‘Kurangi’, in a crackdown on illegal migration.

The biometrics of over 1,500 migrants have been collected under the operation.

At a session of the ‘Ahaa’ public forum back in April, Home Minister Ali Ihusan said the issue of illegal migration will be resolved in three years.

He said that the collection of biometric data of migrants was just phase one of the operation, and will wrap up within one year.

He said that once the data on all migrants are collected and entered into a system, the government will then regularize all undocumented migrants.

Ihusan warned that those who fail to make use of the opportunity will be deported.

However, he stressed that the goal is not to arrest and deport migrants, but to give them a chance to get regularized.