Bangladesh asks the Maldives to reopen its borders to Bangladeshi workers
Ministers hold meeting. In 2019 the Maldives stop recruiting Bangladeshis because of their numbers compared to the local population. However, many have continued to come. At present, some 50,000 undocumented Bangladeshis are in the country, at risk of abuse and exploitation in the tourist sector.
Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Bangladesh has called on the Maldives to recruit Bangladeshi workers and regularise undocumented Bangladeshi migrants present in the country.
Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to the Maldives, Abul Kalam Azad, made the request during a meeting in Malé, the Maldivian capital, with the country’s Minister of Economic Development, Fayyaz Ismail.
Currently, about 100,000 Bangladeshis live in the Maldives, but about half are undocumented workers. The number of irregular migrants rose after the Maldives stopped recruiting Bangladeshis in September 2019, before the pandemic.
Such a restrictive measure applies only to Bangladeshi nationals who are the largest component of the low-skilled labour employed in the Maldivian tourist sector.
According to some sources, their number at some point was as high as 200,000 in a country with a population of 540,000.
Yet, despite the recent restrictions, Bangladeshis have continued to arrive in the Maldives. Now Bangladesh is concerned that, as tourism rebounds, its citizens might face greater abuse and exploitation.
For this reason, Minister Ismail was asked to help solve the issue. As a result of the meeting, he agreed to regularise undocumented Bangladeshi workers and help recruit new one.
During the meeting, the two officials also discussed ways to boost trade between the two countries.