The Homeland Security Ministry has announced the nationwide expansion of ‘Operation Kurangi’ this July. This operation, which was initially launched in Himmafushi and Maafushi Islands, Kaafu Atoll, aims to collect comprehensive data on all migrant workers in the country to address the issue of undocumented immigrants.

The magnitude of this operation has prompted collaboration with local councils, the Maldives Police Service, and the Department of National Registration, according to the ministry. By involving these key stakeholders, the ministry seeks to expedite the process and ensure accurate data collection.

In a televised interview, Deputy Minister for Homeland Security Ashraf Ali noted that final preparations are underway for the nationwide expansion of the operation. Training programmes for local council officials are set to be completed before 20 July, ensuring their readiness to participate in the operation, he said.

“We have enough equipment to provide to local councils to collect and store biometric data of migrant workers,” stated Ali.

The operation will be carried out simultaneously across all islands to prevent migrant workers from evading registration. Ali explained that this approach eliminates the opportunity for workers to travel between islands during the process.

The programme’s purpose is not punitive, Ali said, noting that undocumented migrants will have the chance to re-enter the system and legalise their status, safeguarding their rights. However, recent police raids in the capital, Malé, resulted in the apprehension of over 50 illegal immigrants, who now face the risk of deportation to their home countries.