While the Maldives Immigration was criticized for deporting two Bangladeshi workers recently, it has said that they were deported “to enforce the Immigration Act.”
Officials from Immigration and the police service were summoned to the parliament’s committee on national security and foreign relations on Tuesday, over the decision to hastily expel Abu Hanif and MD Shafiqul Islam from the country.
At the meeting, the officials admitted to not knowing the extent of their criminal activities in the country at the time of deportation.
Villimalé constituency MP Ahmed Usham noted inconsistencies in the matter, highlighting that the the department had tweeted the accusations against the suspects shortly after.
Noting that the information one of the tweets stated that the man was recruiting workers to the country illegally, MP Usham said that the officials were “either lying now, or had released false information then.” He further asked them why the two were not investigated, as per the anti-trafficking law.
While the Villimalé MP was speaking about MD Shafiqul, the Immigration official responded that the tweet stated that he is accused of conducting illegal businesses and “fraudulent recruitment.” He added that there is a confusion over the wording used in the tweet, and that what they might be fraudulent recruitment is that he was “helping individuals finds work unlawfully.”
The official added that they were not referring to human trafficking “in any capacity.”
MP Usham further said that he does not believe that they will be able to question either of the suspects now, given that they have been deported.
Noting that they began investigating Abu Hanif’s case after he was deported, the police official said that they will use all means in the investigation including “requesting Interpol assistance.”
Also at the meeting, the Immigration officials stressed the extent of the issue and said that it “is too big for the Immigration to handle alone.”
Noting that they now work with relevant institutions, the Immigration official noted police’s support in the work.
Back in January, Immigration revealed that there is a total of 144,607 expatriate workers in the Maldives, out of which 63,000 are undocumented.