Maldives Immigration announced its decision to delay the imposition of late fees on visa payments, amidst the shutdown of government offices since March 12, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the country
According to local media Mihaaru, Immigration will also delay the fines for those unable to request the authorities for visa extensions. Furthermore, Immigration noted the government's closure to have caused challenges to both individuals and to businesses.
In order to ease the process during ongoing lockdown measures, Immigration has implemented an online payment system for foreigners to renew their passports, as well as to forgo the required medical report in applying for work permits.
According to the state tax institution, Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) paid the work visa fees for over 131,000 people in 2018. The state received MVR 304 million as visa fees the same year.
A total of MVR 750 is collected as fee for a three-month work visa.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Friday extended the closure of all government offices until May 28, after the second 14-day extension of the Greater Male' Region lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Maldives.
The initial lockdown was implemented on April 15, for 14 days following the first confirmed case of community spread in the capital. It was then extended for another 14 days, until May 14 until the latest extension.
Amidst the lockdown, authorities have reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since recording its first local transmission in Malé, one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Presently, Maldives records 1,186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1091 active cases. The country has reported four fatalities and a total of 91 recoveries till date.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 5.1 million people and claimed over 329,896 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 2 million people have recovered.