Bangladeshi migrant workers in the Maldives remitted US$ 31 million to their families in Bangladesh over the past year, according to the latest statistics released by Bangladesh Bank. The bank’s ‘Wage Earners’ Remittance Inflow’ report revealed that this amount was sent from July 2023 to April 2024.

Despite the significant contribution, the Maldives is placed 24th in the Wage Earners’ Remittance Inflow list, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States, and Oman topping the list.

The Bangladeshi migrant worker population in the Maldives currently stands at 139,220, according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, with a notable portion being undocumented migrant workers.

The Maldives’ government recently launched a nationwide operation to weed out the undocumented migrant workers. Led by the Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology, Maldives Immigration, and the Maldives Police Service, the operation seeks to identify undocumented immigrants, reintegrate them into the system, and regularise their status.

This initiative comes after a surge in the population of undocumented migrant workers, predominantly from Bangladesh, which has been a significant concern since the late 2000s. The previous administration undertook a similar programme in 2019, registering over 40,000 immigrants to address the substantial number of undocumented migrants in the country.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)- led administration suspended the issuance of work permits for unskilled labour from Bangladesh as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat illegal immigration. However, the Mohamed Muizzu administration reversed this policy decision and has since suspended it. The previous government also initiated a programme to regularise undocumented workers.