The Edition


Maldives parliament accepts bill to impose expat remittance tax

Fathmath Shaahunaz
29 June 2016, MVT 11:14
Expatriates queue for Iftar food near a mosque in Hulhumale' on June 26, 2016, during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. MIHAARU PHOTO/NIUMATHULLA IDREES
Fathmath Shaahunaz
29 June 2016, MVT 11:14

Maldives parliament Tuesday accepted an amendment for the Employment Act to impose a three percent remittance tax on expatriate workers and deposit their remuneration in banks.

The amendment was forwarded to the parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee for review.

The amendment was submitted to the parliament by Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth and approved with 41 out of 57 members voting in favour, while 16 members had voted against.

The Bill states that all remuneration and allowances paid by employers to expatriate workers with work visas, or unregistered workers, must be deposited in accounts under the employees’ name at a registered bank in the Maldives.

Employers that do not deposit the salaries of their expatriate employees in banks will be penalised between MVR 10,000 – 50,000. The amendment also authorises the state to terminate services to employers that violate this Act.

The members of parliament had unanimously conceded to impose a three percent tax on expatriates’ remittance during the debate. However, a number of parliamentarians had dissented its implementation without an integral procedure to collect the tax.

Pro-government members further asserted that the remittance tax and deposition of expatriates’ salaries in banks will provide some solution to the predicament of unregistered expatriates.

According to Maldives Immigration’s official statistics, there are over 100,000 expatriates currently working in the Maldives. The statistics estimate unregistered expatriates to number 20,000.

The government’s proposed state budget for 2016 projects MVR 56 million as revenue from remittance tax this year.