Over 60,000 undocumented expats in Maldives, says immigration

Maldives' new immigration chief on Thursday said the estimated number of undocumented expatriates in the archipelago was over 60,000.

Immigration controller Mohamed Ahmed during a press conference on Thursday said a total 144,607 expats had been brought in under a work visa, out which 63,000 are now estimated to be undocumented.

Mohamed Ahmed said in the recent past expat quota had been issued in violation of the policies and regulations which had contributed to the huge number of undocumented expats in the country.

According to the controller, hundreds of expat quotas had been issued to cafes and guesthouses while over 3,500 had been issued for some projects.

"Things haven't been done in the best possible way by the previous government. The policies and regulations had been largely ignored. So the immigration department is not seen as a good way by the people. That's the truth," the controller said.

Mohamed Ahmed said the department would now look to solve the expat issue by implementing a number of measures which included bringing much needed legislation on deportation stop illegal entry into the country.

According to the statistics revealed by the immigration department, 3,211 foreigners had been deported for visa violations while 531 had been sent back to health issues.