Minister bemoans failure to probe expats before deportation

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has bemoaned the failure by the authorities to fully investigate two expatriate workers for serious allegations before their deportation.

The government had come under intense public criticism after two Bangladesh expats accused of money laundering and illegal expat recruitment were deported last month.

The minister speaking during a program on private television station Raajje TV on Saturday said the duo should have been arrested followed by a comprehensive investigation before their deportation.

"Deporting an undocumented expat for visa violation isn't an issue. But expats accused of major criminal activity must be investigated so that we can see how deep such roots go," Fayyaz said.

One Bangladeshi expat identified as Abu Haneef entered the Maldives as a carpenter but was accused of leading a major money laundering ring during his time in the Maldives.

The other Bangladesh national Shafeequl Islam, is alleged to have been involved in the illegal recruitment of other expatriates into the country.

According to Immigration records, 63,000 expatriates out of the total 144,607 are living unlawfully.

In a bid to tackle the snowballing expat issue, Maldives government has now launched a fresh campaign aimed at legalizing the thousands of undocumented foreign workers in the island nation.