Indians are being denied jobs in Maldives as relationship between the two nations nose-dive.
Once again showing its hatred towards India, the new regime in Maldives has shut its doors on Indians. Companies in the island that are hiring say “Indians need not apply”. This is because Indians are denied work permit as the relationships between India and Maldives have nose-dived of late.
The stringent curb on Indians started in February this year when Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared an emergency. He jailed all his opponents and judges. This was strongly condemned by India. Hitting back, the Maldives Immigration Authority has been told to hold up all work permits to Indians.
Indians are mostly employed in the booming tourism sector in Maldives.
Recently, an advertisement put out by internationally renowned Marriott chain of hotels said: “Please note that work permits are not currently being issued to Indian Nationals.”
St. Regis in its posting on openings said on LinkedIn: “Unfortunately, with the current situation that Work Permits are not being granted to Indian Nationals, we are ideally searching for an Indian who is holding another passport or is the spouse of a Maldivian.”
Strangely, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in India has refused to take up the matter publicly. The Indian Embassy in the Maldives threw up its hands saying it cannot help.
Sources quoted by The Hindu said there appeared to be a “strict directive” from the Maldivian President’s office against work permits to Indians, as well as against facilitating other requests from Indian companies there. Around 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives, and an estimated 2,000 have pending applications for work permits.
Relationship between India and Maldives have worsened since 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his visit to Male over the treatment of opposition leaders by President Yameen. President Yameen’s emergency declaration and arrest of opposition leaders have led to protests from India, further straining ties.
As criticisms mounted from Delhi, Maldives dumped India, which has been its friend for years. The island nation found a new ally in China. Beijing now has a free trade agreement with Maldives.
Rubbing it in, Maldives has told India to remove its helicopters from two strategic locations by the end of June, when visas of the Indian Coast guard and naval pilots and personnel manning the choppers will expire.
India should act firm and not stand to such arm-twisting tactics of a nation that has no respect for either democracy or international relationships.