Regulation on Employing Expatriates in the Maldives

On 12 August 2020, the Regulation on Employing Expatriates in the Maldives was published which provides for procedures to be followed by Employers, representatives and persons providing accommodation to expatriate workers.

The Regulation addresses the following key areas:

  1. Employers and persons providing accommodation to expatriates must register with the Expat Online System (“EOS”).
  2. A ‘representative’ of the employer can be registered in the EOS.
  3. Employers must provide the expatriate employees with a letter of appointment, and obtain employment approval, prior to the arrival of the expatriate employee in the Maldives.
  4. Obligations to be fulfilled by expatriate employees under an Employment Agreement.

Expatriate Online System

  1. Any person seeking to obtain a permit to recruit an expatriate employee will have to lodge the request via the EOS.
  2. As per the Regulation, persons who employ expatriate employees and persons who provide accommodation for expatriate employees are required to register in the EOS.

Appointment of Representative of the Employer

  1. Employers can appoint a ‘representative’ and register such a person in the EOS. The person appointed as the employers representative must be a Maldivian citizen.
  2. The Employer may appoint an Employment Agency to represent the employer through the EOS.

Letter of Appointment

  1. Prior to the arrival of an expatriate employee, the employer must provide a letter of appointment to the employee and the employer must obtain the employment approval in accordance with the Regulation. The letter of appointment will be construed as the employment between the parties until the parties sign a formal employment contract.
  2. The terms in the letter of appointment should not contradict Section 13 of the Employment Act.

Employment Approval

  1. Employment approval will only be granted to employers that have applied for and been granted quota in accordance with the Regulation.
  2. The quota can only be issued to those that are registered in the “National Job Center- Job Portal”.
  3. A quota fee of MVR 2,000 (applicable for a 12 month period) will be charged for every quota issued.
  4. The quota fee for quota which has been issued prior to the publishing of this Regulation must be paid within 90 days of publication of the Regulation.
  5. Deposit payment for an expatriate employee must be paid, following a request for employment approval made by the employer. Employment approval will only be issued once the outstanding deposit is settled.

Expatriate Employee Rights and Obligations Under an Employment Agreement

  1. Expatriate employees are entitled to legal redress under the Employment Act. If a dispute arises between the employer and expatriate employee, they must submit the matter to the relevant authority for a resolution.
  2. Expatriate employees, while residing in the Maldives, must comply with domestic Laws and Regulations. Failure to comply will result in deportation and other actions stipulated in the Regulation.
  3. Expatriate employees may change their employer, occupation, and work site, provided that their employment approval is granted, in accordance with a submission made in accordance with Schedule 4 of the Regulation.

Effective Date and Repealed Regulation

  1. The Regulation on Employment of Expatriates1 is repealed with the publication of this new Regulation.
  2. The Regulation came into effect from 12 August 2020 onwards.

1 Regulation Number 2011/R-22.