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Maldives says thousands of visas granted for Indian workers

Indian media reported that visas were being rejected by the Maldives because of worsening ties.



Maldives Immigration Tuesday denied it is refusing visas for Indian workers, its second such denial, saying more than 2,000 had been issued so far this year.

The denial follows Indian media reporting that visas were being rejected amid worsening ties between the two nations and that Indians were being told not to apply for jobs.

Immigration spokesman Hassan Khaleel told the Maldives Independent that no particular country was being singled out in the visa process and that 2,261 Indians had been granted visas.

He said applications were reviewed and, if needed, rejected on a case-by-case basis.

“We have refused visas to people from China, Bangladesh, Germany and Italy. Approximately 1,100 people are sent back without visas every year due to various reasons. That does not mean we are withholding visa to a certain people.”

Khaleel said Immigration had not received any kind of official complaint.

On Sunday it was reported that Kerala’s chief minister had written to ask for help.

“Recently, some of the political developments have created a situation where Indians have been prevented from working permits,” Pinarayi Vijayan was quoted as saying in a letter to Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

“Normally, renewal of permits within a week. New employment visas are not permitted in addition to renewing the permit,” Vijayan’s letter was cited as saying by India Today.

“There are over 30,000 Indians working in the (Maldives) education, health and tourism sectors. A large section of them are from Kerala. The state and the people have also recorded the role played by Kerala in the economy of the island.”

Immigration’s previous denial came in March, when personnel firms were saying there was a delay with visa applications.

The Indian embassy in Malé has not commented on the visa situation or deteriorating ties.