Terms you should know by heart before joining the sunny side

Confusion is lethal especially when you're about to step in a new territory. One wrong move can take you backwards. Before you waste more of your time and effort in correcting expensive mistakes, know the possible words that might come up when you process your expat papers to Maldives. This will help you ask the right questions and make you scam-proof.

  1. EMPLOYMENT APPROVAL, a.k.a work permit, is the initial A4-size document issued by Maldives Immigration that allows the holder to enter Maldives for employment. Common prerequisites are employer's quota, appointment letter and contract, employee's credentials, and some fees to be paid by the employer. 
    All details omitted for protection
  2. WORK VISA CARD is the final document (looks more like an ID card) issued by Maldives Immigration once EA holder arrives in Maldives. The validity of this card is 1 year, and you can obtain it once you submit your medical results and updated photograph within 15 days of arrival. 

  3. PASSPORT. I'm surprised by the number of people who are still confused with the difference between a passport and a visa. Passport is your identity card. It shows from which country you belong, which dictates the privileges you can demand when visiting a foreign country.
  4. VISA, on the other hand, is a document issued by your country of destination. This serves like a "permission" to enter that country according to the purpose you have stated (business, work, travel, medical, etc.).
  5. APPOINTMENT LETTER,  a.k.a offer letter, is a document that confirms that a job is being awarded to you and it states the salary and benefits you and your employer agreed on. Any further negotiations should be made before signing the appointment letter.
  6. FOREIGN LABOUR QUOTA. Every company in Maldives needs to apply for a labour quota before they can hire an expat. This is to make sure that establishments would still hire a significant number of locals by limiting the number of foreign workers. If your employer says they ran out of quota but still want to hire you, it means they want you to work off the government's grid-- and you should turn down that job instantly. It's not worth it!
  7. ALL-IN SALARY. Usually, allowances are given on top of the basic wage, unless stated otherwise. So, once your employer says your salary is all in, it means the figure given already includes service charge, food, accommodation, and all possible allowances.
  8. RED RIBBON, for OFWs, is a literal red ribbon attached to your documents that were authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs. POEA requires this and you can get this service from PH embassy or consul in your work country. This red ribbon, however, is not a piece of cake to request (Pinoy pun intended). 😄 
  9. REPATRIATION means the return of the person to the home country, alive or (God forbid) dead. POEA requires a repatriation clause in all OFW employment contracts. 
  10. FOREIGN EMPLOYEE SECURITY DEPOSIT is a fee mandated by the Maldives government to all expat workers. This deposit "will be used to send back the employee to his/her respective country, should the responsibility fall on the government."(1)
Bonus:
ANNUAL LEAVE! These are my 2 favorite words put together. It signifies your 30-day paid vacation to your home country or destination of choice after a year of hard work. Some companies give 2 15-day vacations on different quarters especially if they can't afford you to be away for 30 days long. However, some people opt for a 60-day vacation after 2 years nonstop work. Feel free to discuss with your employer which suits you best.


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