President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Wednesday, ratified the amendments to the Immigration Act, which extends resident visa to foreigners that invest a certain amount of funds in Maldives.
According to the amendments passed by the Parliament with a majority vote cast by 52 members, shareholders and partners of businesses registered and operating in Maldives can henceforth acquire the corporate resident visa for themselves and their families, under a set of rules and regulations determined by the Registrar of Businesses.
As per the Parliament committee’s report, Corporate Resident Visa will be issued under two circumstances. Those who wish to acquire this visa must either invest USD 250,000 in Maldives, or sustain the same amount of money for five years in a fixed deposit account in Maldives via a Maldivian bank.
The bill came into effect upon ratification, and individuals that meet the requirements listed in the amendment can request for resident visa at the relevant authorities.
In addition to corporate resident visa, the amendments also grant marriage visa for spouses of Maldivian citizens, to be renewed every five years.
The amendments regarding resident visa drew harsh criticism from the opposition parties, but the incumbent administration rebutted the concerns using the argument that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government had voted in the most leeway for acquiring corporate resident visa.
Some ruling party members also voiced concerns against issuing resident visa under the new amendments, stating that keeping some funds in Maldives is not foreign investment, adding that it should be properly invested in such a way it benefits Maldivians.
Prior to this ratification, resident visa was only granted to those who invest a minimum of USD 50 million in Maldives.