Labor agreement between Maldives and Bangladesh to be renewed

The Bangladesh government has made the decision to renew the agreement between the Republic of Maldives and the Government of Bangladesh protecting the rights of Bangladeshi laborers after a three year hiatus.

Citing government officials, a Bangladesh news agency reported that although their government has decided to renew the agreement, its terms will be drastically amended.

The "Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Concerning Placement of Manpower" was signed in 2011 during former president Mohamed Nasheed's rule by then Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem. The three-year agreement expired in May 2016 and has not been renewed since.

An official from Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry said the worker recruitment deal with Maldives will be amended to ensure that the rights of Bangladeshi laborers working in the Maldives are protected and preserved before being renewed.

During a meeting held between relevant Bangladeshi authorities, it was pointed out that the recruiting agencies that send Bangladeshi workers to Maldives have developed the habit of sending the workers to Maldives on visit visas, for which they become undocumented to make legal migration difficult.

In order to seek a solution for this issue, it was proposed to necessitate a police clearance before migrating to Maldives within a disciplined system. It was suggested that those interested in going to Maldives for work are educated on the situation of Bangladeshi laborers currently in the Maldives.

Earlier this February, the government of Bangladesh urged workers against seeking jobs in the Maldives, stating that the employment opportunities in the Maldives were limited.

Maldives Immigration recently stated that 144,607 foreigners are working in the Maldives on work visas, out of which 63,000 people are in the Maldives illegally. In order to seek a solution for the issue, the government recently transferred migrant worker mandate from the immigration department to the Ministry of Economic Development,