Maldives government has held up work permits of thousands of Indian expats amid a downturn in relations between the once two friendly nations.
According to various sources, Maldives immigration has put a squeeze on granting work permits to Indians since March this year.
Indian media had reported that while round 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives, and an estimated 2,000 have pending applications for work permits.
Immigration spokesperson Hassan Khaleel however, denied the reports insisting that there has not been any such directive to withhold work visa for Indians. He also added that the immigration department had not received any complaints.
But despite the denial, public advertisements from Maldives based companies that are hiring, but say clearly that “Indians need not apply”, as they would not be given work permits.
“Please note that work permits are not currently being issued to Indian Nationals.”
A post by the internationally renowned Marriott chain of hotels that advertised on Wednesday for 18 jobs said.
The general manager of the St. Regis in Vommuli, Alexander Blair, also advertised for the chef of an Indian specialty restaurant, adding on his page on the online jobs network LinkedIn, “Unfortunately, with the current situation that Work Permits are not being granted to Indian Nationals, we are ideally searching for an Indian who is holding another passport or is the spouse of a Maldivian.”
Bilateral ties between the two countries had soured after Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdulla Gayoom in February declared state of emergency following an order by the country’s Supreme Court to release a group of opposition leaders convicted in widely criticised trials.