Expatriate workers and foreigners visiting the Maldives have been threatened with deportation if they are found to be involved in political activities.
Maldives Immigration urged them to refrain from taking part in political rallies and activities, saying visas would be cancelled.
“We warn that will not hesitate to cancel visa and repatriate those who take part in political activities,” read a statement issued Friday.
It said taking part in political activities would violate the conditions in which the visa was issued. It also told employers to respect rules and regulations.
“Maldives Immigration will hold the employers who compel the expatriates to participate in political activities accountable and will be subject to appropriate penalty,” it warned.
The joint opposition says expat workers have set up chairs, banners and flags at ruling party campaign events.
A spokesman for the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said authorities had taken no action despite complaints.
“We know that expat workers in places like the housing ministry are involved in these political events of the Progressive Party of the Maldives,” MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told the Maldives Independent.
“We have submitted complaints with evidence so many times but nothing is done. No investigation takes place,” he added.
But the PPM’s Ahmed Nihan denied the allegations.
“I am not aware that expat workers are involved in our events. They might be involved in transporting goods. This is tasked to a logistics company and they could be doing the work for them,” he said.
“But they are not involved in any political events of the PPM,” the lawmaker insisted.
Dozens of foreigners are expected to be in the Maldives to observe or monitor a presidential election due to be held on September 23.
Immigration has also threatened journalists who are found working on a tourist visa during the poll.
File photo of expat workers