Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan has said that expatriates in breach of the law and regulations will be deported immediately.

Speaking to local media, Ihusaan said the biggest obstacle in trying to find an adequate solution to issues when it came to expatriates, until now, had been that the oversight agencies were run under the supervision of different ministries. However, the Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology is now handling the work of all such agencies and therefore there was no excuse for not resolving the issue, he said.

“Previously, work permits were handled by the Economic Ministry. Immigration was handled by the Defence Ministry. And the police service was handled by the Home Ministry. But now all the agencies dealing with expatriates are under one ministry,” Ihusaan said.

The minister said he has already given priority to resolving such issues with the most important task being to improve services to the extent that the agencies are held accountable.

The first priority will be to ensure that expatriates are adhering to the rules and regulations, he said, going on to underline that expeditious action is being taken in cases, relating to expatriates, where regulation and law had been violated.

“Illegal immigrants, especially if they commit a crime, will be deported immediately. We have already deported 60. These people include those who have committed crimes,” the Homeland Minister said.

According to Ihusaan, arrangements would be made for illegal immigrants who wish to return home of their own accord — in such cases they will be housed at government facilities prior to their repatriation with their deposit funds also refunded.

The minister said many expatriates have no way to return home.

“We will arrest and detain illegal immigrants and hold them accountable. Thirdly, we will verify the information of foreigners living in Maldives. We will identify them at fingerprint level. We are preparing to start this work in collaboration with councils and police,” the Homeland Minister said.

The minister said a database of expatriates would be compiled within the year.

The Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology last month said the number of expatriates working in Maldives, with proper permits and documentation, was 139,000, with 90,634 being from Bangladesh. Legally, only a maximum of 100,000 people from any one country can enter the Maldives to work.