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Expatriates working in Male. Dhauru Photo/Mohammad Muzayyin Nazim

Embassies uncooperative in deporting expat criminals, Imran says

One of the main drawbacks of deporting such persons is also that the assistance from their countries of origin in filing undocumented migrants is not available.

6 days ago

By Fathmath Ahmed Shareef

Home minister Imran Abdulla on Wednesday said the number of foreigners who have to be detained by immigration authorities is increasing and there are major space constraints in detention facilities as embassies are not cooperating in repatriating the migrants. 

Imran made the remarks in response to a question by Maafannu Central MP Ibrahim Rasheed seeking a written reply. The reply was read out in parliament on Wednesday.

MP Rasheed's question reads:

  • What has been done in the last three years to address the issue of violation of general social norms by foreigners living in Male and atolls without work permits and visas, and to prevent violations of laws by such foreigners in a way that undermines the socio-economic rights of Maldivians?

The minister's reply reads:

  • In the last three years, action has been taken against those indulging in all activities that interfere with the socio-economic rights of Maldivian people

  • No direct operations have been carried out by the police on the issue of illegal migrants in the Maldives and the presence of foreigners in works reserved for Maldivian people

  • In collaboration with immigration, illegal immigrants and victims of smuggling and human trafficking have been identified and prevented before committing crimes

  • The rate of major crimes committed by foreigners has increased over the years

  • Foreigners involved in crime are more active in gambling and prostitution

  • Special operations have been conducted against such offences

In his letter, Imran noted that there are serious challenges in deporting foreigners who commit such crimes.

The minister said that when it comes to deporting such migrants, coordination is often required with other agencies. Thus, he pointed out:

  • One of the main drawbacks of deporting such persons is also that the assistance from their countries of origin in filing undocumented migrants is not available at the earliest

  • There is a shortage of space in the detention facility when it comes to handing over detainees to immigration for deportation

  • This could pose more threats to the country in the future

The minister said that they are working closely with the authorities concerned to find a solution to the future risks posed by the lack of space in the detention centre. He added that under the prison complex project, efforts were being made to increase the space for the detention centre.

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