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Maldives enacts new expatriate employment regulations



In a major policy intervention, the Maldives government has launched the new and revised Expatriate Employment Regulations. It was published in the government gazette on August 13 as Regulation Number 2020/R-62.

The complete set

The new regulations come packed in a total of 72 pages complete with a bundle of various guidelines on related subjects. They are also integrated into the regulations by making them schedules to the regulations.

The pack consists of regulations on expatriate employment and individual guidelines and rules on complementary areas such as registering with the online x-pat system, grant of quotas, collection of quota fees, grant of approval to work in the country, deposits and refunds, accommodation service providers, arrangements and standards of accommodation, and disciplinary measures for breaches.

Key takeaways

Letter of Appointment must be delivered to the individual before he/she arrives in the Maldives. It will be considered as the temporary employment contract pending arrival in the Maldives and execution of a proper employment contract. A sample template of the letter of appointment is found in the regulations.

An expatriate employee’s employment may only be terminated in accordance with the Employment Act.

All requests for approvals required under the regulations must be processed through the x-pat online system. Two categories of people can register with the system: employment agencies and accommodation service providers who provide and arrange accommodation on commercial basis for employers.

Each employer has to designate a specific representative to deal with the x-pat system on its behalf, and that representative ought to be a Maldivian. Also, an employer can appoint an employment agency to deal with the system on its behalf.

A representative so appointed shall take personal responsibility for all actions completed through the system using his/her credentials.

Employment approval for individual employees would only be granted under a quota. The quota applications are processed through the designated job portal of the national job centre for employers registered on it.

A quota fee is charged as per quota fee guidelines.

Engaging an expatriate for any work in excess of or outside a quota is not allowed.

An employer may not, after bringing an expatriate employee to the Maldives under a specific quota issued to that employer, allow that expatriate to be transferred to or handed over to another employer or cause that employee to work for another employer except as may be allowed under the regulations.

An expatriate may only be brought in for work after securing his/her employment approval. The approval is valid for the duration of the quota. An expat brought in under one employer may not be allowed to transfer to another employer unless the new employer has secured the employment approval for that employee.

Neither the designation nor the work site of an expatriate employee may be changed except after securing necessary approvals.

It is prohibited to engage an expatriate employee to work in an employment or cause him/her to work for a person without securing the relevant employment approval for that employee.

Payment of a deposit is required. The government can use the deposit to repatriate the employee or pay for requirements which remain unfulfilled by the relevant employer.

Expatriates may be employed and maintained in employment in fulfillment of requirements of the Employment Act, regulations made under it, and in a manner not inconsistent with the Act.

The employer is to arrange repatriation of employees on expiry or termination of employment and when directed by a government agency.

Registration of expatriate employees across the country is made obligatory. The register is to be kept and maintained at every local council including city councils. If an employee is ordinarily resident on an inhabited the island on which he/she is resident will register him/her. If he/she is on an uninhabited island, the inhabited island that is closest to his work site will register him/her.

Expatriates are to respect local law. If there is a breach, action would be taken in accordance with that law.

If any of the rights of an expatriate employee is believed to be infringed, he/she may submit the matter to the Labor Relations Authority for resolution.

The ministry has the right to inspect every site at which an expatriate is employed or accommodated to ensure compliance with law.

New regulations come into effect from the date of publication. Old regulations are repealed. Actions taken, obligations and rights created under the old regulations are to remain valid and continuing.

Guidelines attached

The regulations come with 7 individual guidelines found in 7 separate schedules that are made part of the regulations.

The entire pack is broken down as below:

  • The Regulations – Expatriate Employment in the Maldives (16 pages, 40 provisions)
  • Schedule One – Registration with and use of x-pat system (eight pages, 18 provisions)
  • Schedule Two – Grant of quotas for engaging expatriate employees (eight pages, 14 provisions)
  • Schedule Three – Collection of quota fees (five pages, 14 provisions)
  • Schedule Four – Grant of approval for expatriates to work in the Maldives (13 pages, 22 provisions)
  • Schedule Five – Deposits and refunds (five pages, 11 provisions)
  • Schedule Six – Arrangement of accommodation by employers (11 pages, 31 provisions)
  • Schedule Seven – Disciplinary Measures (five pages, 10 provisions)

English translation

There is no official English translation of these regulations. Commercial law firms are expected to develop their own translation of this new set of regulations and guidelines over the coming weeks.

The Dhivehi version for the regulation may be found here.

Note: This article has been reproduced and adapted to fit our publishing guidelines with permission from its author: Nasheed & Co., a commercial law firm in the Maldives. The original article can be viewed here.


Atmosphere Core expands in South Asia with Atmosphere Living ultra-luxury residences



Atmosphere Core, a globally renowned name in hospitality, has announced the launch of Atmosphere Living as part of its continued expansion in South Asia. Headquartered in India, this new company will offer branded ultra-luxury residences with customised end-to-end amenities and indulgences, including coffee lounges, wine cellars, private transport, and bespoke concierge services.

The global branded residences market has experienced a remarkable 150 percent growth over the past decade, and projections indicate a surge in demand. With the real estate veteran Sandeep Ahuja at the helm as Managing Director, Atmosphere Living is strategically positioned to capitaliSe on this demand.

Atmosphere Living will focus on a conscious design philosophy. All properties will be built in harmony with the environment and will incorporate features such as smart recycling, efficient waste and water management, and green energy solutions.

Sharing his insights on the launch, Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director, Atmosphere Core, said, “Atmosphere Living will bring a distinctive offering to India, and is a brand to watch out for. It will combine Ahuja’s decades of experience, knowledge, and industry network in real estate with Atmosphere’s hospitality expertise, introducing unparalleled serviced residences in India.”

Positioned in major metropolitan areas, established second-home destinations, and undiscovered scenic locales nationwide, these projects will also present lucrative investment opportunities. Elite homeowners will have the option to lease their residences back to Atmosphere Living, allowing them to be rented out for income generation.

Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, Atmosphere Living, said, “There is currently a gap in the Indian realty landscape for ultra-indulgent serviced homes catering to affluent consumers. We aim to bridge this gap by curating serviced homes that offer indulgences such as entering homes using smart key cards, 24/7 butler services, fine dining, and co-working spaces, among others. Our ultimate desire is to enable our customers to experience a life of true luxury and exclusivity.”

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A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake



Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic  milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest  overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives. 

Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for  this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full  house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural  beauty. 

The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful  tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly  awaited Tim Peake’s presentation. 

Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut  and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the  daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his 

historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both  inspired and spellbound. 

Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the  British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of  astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration. 

The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed,  Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward. 

The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who  left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish. 

The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s  commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim  Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to  the resort’s already spectacular offerings. 

Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to  visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He  also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his  extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month. 

An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy  stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of  discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail  bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.

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Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions



Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.

The segment, now live at provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.

With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.

The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.

Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.

MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.

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