After studying a research papers submitted by the Human Resources ministry, the government has decided to impose a fee on work permits to expatriates working in the country. According to Haveeru, the government is also discussing possible effects of this proposed fee on work permits on tourism and construction industries. The fee structure will be calculated based on factors such as comparison of pay-scales for locals and expatriates in similar jobs as well as demand for jobs by locals in relevant sectors so that employers will find it attractive to hire labour from within the country rather than abroad.
The fees will come in to force on the first of next month and onwards. Expatriates who are already working in the country will be subjected the fee once their work permit is due for renewal.
To all extents the government appears to be forced into these tough considerations from various factors such as demands by IMF and World Bank for fiscal reform as well as curbing local unrest over the high unemployment rates in the islands which is especially becoming a thorny issue with the opposition dominating the Majlis and highly polarized nature of the situation of politics after the transition of power last November.
According to Human resources ministry’s figures there are currently more than 78,000 foreign workers in the Maldives.