Maldives Immigration on Monday denied there were problems in giving business visas or work permits to Indian expatriate workers, amid strained relations between the two countries.
Personnel officers in Maldivian companies told Raajjemv they have been waiting on business visas for Indian workers for almost two weeks, a process which normally takes up to three working days.
An employee at a medical firm in Malé told the Maldives Independent an engineer was stuck in India after being told that business visas were not being given to Indians.
“We haven’t stopped it. It’s completely false,” Immigration Department spokesman Hassan Khaleel told the Maldives Independent, referring to reports there was a visa delay for Indians.
“I assure you, if there are problems then it wouldn’t be just for Indians, it’d be for everyone.”
The government’s alignment with China has put pressure on regional relations.
Ties were thrust into the spotlight after the inking of a massive trade deal between China and the Maldives. It was followed by the suspension of opposition councillors for meeting the Indian ambassador to the Maldives without government approval, and a scathing anti-India editorial on a pro-government website.
Chinese state media has goaded New Delhi on several occasions and even said that Beijing will stop any Indian military action in the Maldives, after former president Mohamed Nasheed asked for help in resolving the crisis.
An Indian embassy official in Malé refused to answer questions about the visa issue and asked for queries to be sent by email, but a response was not received at the time of going to press.
D. Senthi Kumar, from the Expatriate Friendship Club in the Maldives, said he had received complaints from Indians.
“I am in no position to comment why this is happening, but many people have been saying they can’t get it. Some tried contacting the airport and embassy, but they haven’t been getting a clear answer.”
Kumar said the issue seemed to be only for some expats. “Some people who applied last week were able to get it (a visa).”