The problem of illegal workers has soared to new heights as the country is listed on US State Department’s human trafficking watch list for a second year. To tackle the problem the military has been manning the immigration counters and human resources ministry to investigate the root causes of the problem. Prior to this takeover the two offices (immigration and human resources ministry) were not able to solve the problem of which office keeps which monies associated with the immigration and visa fees process. The problem was resolved that neither office gets to keep any monies related to expatriates visas, deposit fees, work permit, return ticket etc. Instead Maldives Inland Revenue Authority takes over the money matters from the two offices.
Briefly the various numbers associated with the illegal immigrants are as follows
- 130milion Rf as lost visa fees per year for the country.
- Greater than 40000 estimated illegal immigrants in the country. The two separate databases kept by the Immigration Department and Human Resources Ministry has a variance of greater than 20000 which is making it difficult to estimate the size of the problem.
- All legal expatriate worker pays 250rf per month as work visa fees.
- 1 office serves visas. 1 entry point for immigration.
- Expatriates are estimated to remit 10m$ per month. The dollar shortage problem is frequently associated with this problem. However the single most drainer of dollars is high government spending.
- Its also estimated that workers remit 100-800$ per month per worker which is contrary to popular belief that illegal workers work almost for pennies!
- Recruitments agencies are charged 1500rf per worker as deposit.
- To counter the unwieldy problem, the government resorted to a new boarder control system which also fell foul to corruption: The monies involved in the new boarder control system are $220m for 20 years for a company called Nexbis: A comparable system that is employed in in Sri Lanka costs 2.2$m to install and to develop!