Economic Minister says regulation for expats soon to be announced

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail is photographed at a press conference. (Photo/NEOC)

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has said that a new regulation related to expatriate workers is to be announced in the coming week. 

Speaking in a program of PSM, the Minister said that the regulation is aimed to resolve a lot of problems related to expatriate workers.

“The issue of expatriate workers is something the public saw as a serious issue even before we took office. We made pledges to prioritize the issues and resolve when we came into office.” Said the Minister.

He noted that the situation with COVID-19 had coincided at a time when the government was attempting to resolve the issues and that COVID-129 had brought into light further issues related to expatriate workers such as expatriates having to live in squalor and in overcrowded residences. A large number of expatriates were even left on the streets without any work and in a state of homelessness. 

“A lot of businesses exist, that have not paid two or three months of wages. Then COVID-19 came and the overdue wages increased even more, when the situation got worse to such a level, expatriates would also protest.” Said the Minister. 

Workers wear masks and gloves as they transport shipments of food to shops in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Expatriates deported for violent protests were deported under the set policy for the purpose, said the Minister. 

“It is true that some were deported under the Immigration laws. I am informed that they were deported not fort protesting but just a few in numbers for attacking police. Immigration laws state that they can be deported. I do not want to encourage violence and vandalism in the name of protests in any manner. The government will take strict action against that.” Said the Minister.

He added that he did not view the deportation as a violation of the rights related to expatriates and noted that there were many more that protested. Their cases are currently underway in courts and Labor Relations Authority were also working to resolve the matter, 

Expatriates conducting illegal business in the streets of Male’ City was also an issue that has come forth, said the Minister. He said that such establishments were usually registered under a local and that there were challenges in addressing the matter.

The new regulation aims to tackle this issue as well. 

“Many complain regarding how they can conduct business like that. Under what regulation and whose authority are they doing this?” said the Minister who added that a policy on such business activities will be included in the regulation.