Essential Employment Paperwork in Maldives



Made up of more than 1,000 beautiful coral islands, Maldives is a tropical country situated in the Indian Ocean that continues to lure expats from all over the world. Those who wish to work here are required to secure a work permit unless they are married to a Maldivian or have a Maldives Marriage Visa. 

Prospective employers of foreign nationals are the ones who will apply for their work permits. In order to do so, employers should first advertise the job position in a local newspaper for a period of three days. The advertisement includes the job title, basic salary and other remuneration, work site, minimum qualifications required, and the working hours. Then, employers can proceed applying for quota at the Ministry of Employment and Labour in order to recruit a foreign national for the job. Quota application forms are free of charge, and the processing takes about three to five days. 

Obtaining a Prior Approval 

Upon confirmation of the quota, the next step for the employer of the foreign national would be to apply for Prior Approval from the Department of Immigration and Emigration before the foreigner arrives in the country. The Prior Approval forms, which cost MVR 10, can be obtained at the Work Permit Section of the Ministry of Employment and Labour and must be submitted with all the necessary documents of the foreign national worker. Processing of Prior Approval takes approximately one to two days. Some of the documents to be provided when applying for Prior Approval are: 

  • Copy of the expatriate’s passport
  • Original Police Clearance Certificate issued from the employee’s home country
  • Educational and Professional Certificates of the employee 

Obtaining a Work Permit 

The last step is the application of the work permit and residence visa by the employer 15 days after the foreign national worker has arrived in Maldives. Employers must apply for the work permit at the Ministry of Employment and Labour. While the work permit is being processed, the employer should subsequently obtain a residence visa for the foreign national at the Department of Immigration and Emigration within 30 days after the foreigner’s arrival in Maldives. 

It is important that the employer applies for these permits within one month of the expatriate’s arrival or else, the application will be rejected and the employee will be asked to leave Maldives. Expats must also take note that if they entered Maldives using a Tourist Visa, they will not be allowed by the government to change the visa category should they wish to work in the country.