Migrant workers abandoned by their employer in Dhaandhoo island of Gaaf Alif atoll has been returned back to their employers.
According to authorities, 18 migrant workers working at Vodamula island, where a resort is under construction, were abandoned at the nearby inhabited island of Dhaandhoo on Thursday morning.
The island council informed the authorities following which the council and the police held discussions with the contractor of Vodamula to take the migrant workers back to the island. The employer reportedly left the migrant workers at Dhaandhoo with three months severance pay to return to Male' city, said authorities.
However, the workers claim that they were abandoned at Dhaandhoo with no supervisor or guide. This was corroborated by the island's residents.
Speaking to some media outlets, the council's Director Mohamed Ali revealed that the 18 migrant workers were returned to their employer by 10:53 pm on Thursday night. As such, the workers revealed that they were abandoned for protesting against having their wage being withheld for six months, said the council.
Upon checking for work permits, the council found only one migrant worker in possession of his documents.
An estimate of 105,000 migrant workers currently work in the Maldives. This amount includes an overwhelming number of migrants without documentation such as passports and work visas. Immigration put the estimates at about 60,000 (sixty-thousand).
Migrants without passports face many challenges in obtaining new documentation. Reports have found that most migrants are either victims of human traffickers or discriminatory employers, who take away their documentation and use these migrants as slave labour.