24,000 undocumented expats sent back under regularization prog

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has stated that over 24,000 illegal undocumented expatriates have been sent back to their countries. The minister made the statement while speaking at a ceremony held Wednesday to inaugurate the job center established in R. Alifushi.

Speaking at the ceremony, Fayyaz said the issue of illegal expatriates in the Maldives is a serious concern, and that the situation became worse as it was not properly addressed in the past. Noting that the current government has undertaken several efforts to re-register undocumented expatriates, the minister said he is satisfied with the work the government has done thus far.

'Under our efforts to address the issue, we have been able to do a satisfactory job even amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. When we first started out, we re-registered 43,00 undocumented expatriates. We were faced with the global pandemic shortly after we kick started the efforts,' the minister said.

The minister further said 10,000 undocumented expatriates voluntarily returned to their countries. While 150,000 expatriates have been re-registered, approximately 24,000 expatriates have been deported over the past 1.5 years under the regularization program, he said.

'I believe we have been able to implement the program successfully. Even now, seven of our teams are working in seven atolls on the regularization program,' the minister said.