Expats in the Maldives face new tax on remittances

Published:  10 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, Immigration
For many expats, living and working the Maldives is a dream come true, but finances may be getting trickier.

The Maldives government is now exploring the possibility of amending the labour law to include imposing a three per cent tax on expat remittances as well as forcing payment for expat workers to be deposited in Maldives-based banks. The devil would seem to be in the detail as proposed by MP Mohamed Ameeth, who’s urging that allowances and monthly salaries of all expat workers holding work permits should be deposited in accounts held at recognised banks in the names of the employees.

The bill’s first reading took place last Monday and included a statement that employers violating the new rules should be subject to fines of between MVR10,000 and 50,000. Also included in the proposed new law is that firms in violation could be banned from using government services, and a salary allowance rule for expats was also discussed. It seems the new rules may well be the result of a central bank report that remittances to overseas banks by expats totalled around $363 million, some of which was transferred via unofficial procedures.

Meanwhile, Maldives Immigration has sent out warnings to expatriates and tourists that taking part in local politics prior to the upcoming election is forbidden as it violates the terms of their visas. Any foreigner found disobeying the law will have their visa invalidated and will be deported. The notice also warns employers of expat workers not to encourage engagement in political protests or other activities, adding they should abide by the Maldives’ constitution. In addition, monitors and international observers arriving before the upcoming election must be in possession of business visas.
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