Govt seeks assistance from Bangladesh in sending back illegal expats

The Maldives government has appealed for Bangladesh government assistance in sending back undocumented Bangladeshi expatriates in the Maldives.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on Sunday carried out telephone discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart on the repatriation of illegal immigrants in the Maldives. The two ministers also discussed the measures being taken by both governments in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the discussions, Minister Shahid spoke on the regularization program initiated by the government since before the COVID-19 pandemic, under efforts to re-register undocumented immigrants in the Maldives. A large population of Bangladeshi nationals in the Maldives will be at high risk if the virus spreads severely in the Maldives, said the minister. Therefore, it is the request of the Maldives government for the Bangladesh government's assistance in repatriating undocumented labourers, said the minister. The Bangladeshi foreign minister has assured his cooperation on the matter.

The government has announced efforts to send back undocumented immigrants in the Maldives back to their countries as a preventive measure against COVID-19. However, no details have been shared on the matter thus far. It is unknown if the arrangements are moving forward or are at a standstill.

Over 8000 undocumented immigrant labourers re-registered under the government's regularization efforts. While the public has raised several questions on how the program is carried out, the government has not divulged much information on the matter.