Common woes of expat workers in Maldives: Pt. 2

This is Part 2 of the 3-part series discussing the common issues that expat workers in Maldives face. Check out Part 1: Yellow Alert and Part 3: Red Alert.

These issues need to be resolved as soon as possible. Stand your ground while negotiating with HR or seek advise from your consulate.

1. Delayed salary

Managing budgets is really hard when your income stream doesn't flow on time. Ideally, your employer should follow the schedule indicated in your contract. Two days delay can still be acceptable. When you budget, allot another week's allowance for any unforeseen situations.

But if the delay extends to 2 weeks up to months, demand your HR to give your well-earned compensation as soon as possible or they'll hear from the consulate and labor authorities.

2. Unpaid overtime

Honestly, only a tiny fraction of the Maldivian workforce gets overtime pay. In other cases, compensation usually comes in the form of free dinners or a minimal allowance and taxi fare for that day. Most, however, don't even get a "thank you".

Politely decline if this has been happening regularly and it's against your will to work beyond your normal working hours. You may also record the OT hours and submit to HR or Accounts for consideration. Let's give our best efforts at work but know when it's too much.

3. Reduced leave days

You deserve a full 30-day paid annual leave for every year completed. Some employers would request you to take your leave partially (2x15 days or 3x10 days) if they can't afford you to be away for the whole 30 days. That is OK and can easily be compromised.

However, there are some cases where employers refuse their employees from taking their well-deserved leave. Some would cut it to 20 days while threatening to cancel the worker's visa if they don't come back on time. Call out their crap and demand to give you what is due as per contract.

4. Refusal to cancel or transfer visa

When you join a new company, your previous employer should cancel your visa or transfer (transfer is only applicable if you've worked more than a year) to your new employer. A number of employers refuse to do these procedures, leaving some of us jobless or pushed to work without valid visa.

There are 2 ways to solve this. First is to exit the country and wait until your employer cancels your visa. This may take 1-6 months, but rest assured they would have to cancel eventually. Your employer will need your slot in the expat quota to hire a new foreign worker.

Second is to report this to your consulate who should help you present your case to ministries of labour and immigration. Show your employment contract and resignation (or termination) letter. This means having to prove you followed the contract's policies on resignation such as 30-day notice, proper turnover of tasks, etc.

5. Sickness

As much as we want to ban getting sick, we can't. Fortunately, we are entitled to 15-30 days of sick leave annually, depending on your employer. Unfortunately, not all workers have insurance to cover their medical needs. Oh, and it's typical for locals to fly to Sri Lanka or India for medical treatments. That says a lot about Maldives' local health care scene.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle -- proper rest and diet --  to avoid unnecessary trouble. Negotiate with your employer to get you a health insurance or at least medical subsidies whenever you need to visit a doctor.


  1. Hi expat erix! Thank you for your blog! Its refreshing to find something like this. I'm working here in Maldives for 8 months now and i really have a lot of questions regarding registering as OFW. I am hoping you can help me..hehehe.. any means i can dm or call? thanks so much!

    1. Hi, there! Thank you for reading!!
      Sure, please send me a DM on IG @expat.erix so I can help you further. :)


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