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Regarding Foreign 'In-House' Musicians in Maldives

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Greetings on behalf of the Musicians Union of Maldives,

We come bearing great news. This morning, we met with the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minster of Tourism, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Maldives Immigration’s Controller General and other relevant officials from these authorities.

Our main point of discussion is an obstacle musicians have had to face working in the Tourism Industry. Foreign In-house musicians have been brought in to the Maldives for decades. This is an issue that has been brought forward and highlighted by many musicians from all generations, although, we have yet to have any action taken by the relevant authorities.

Regulation No. R-62/2020, made under the Employment Act 2/2008 clearly states that entertainers, which includes musicians, are not permitted to enter Maldives for work or employment. There have been cases of false information being given in order to get Employment Approvals and also cases of musicians entering in to perform under Business Visa’s. Individuals who enter the country with Business Visa’s are not eligible to work as an entertainer as well. Therefore, relevant authorities have the right to take action against such cases that are lodged.

We would like to also highlight that our intention is not to stop foreign artists from entering the country to work. Our intent is to have local entertainers prioritised and be given opportunities that they can cater to before establishments look for foreign artists. Also, to ensure that there is a way to monitor artists entering for employment, including the duration of their work and the form of their provided service (DJ’s, two-piece band, string quartets, big band).

All the topics mentioned above were discussed in the meeting along with immediate and long-term solutions that will be put into action as early as this week. The response we received from the authorities were very positive and they too showed eagerness to work together to come to an efficient resolution. We have been assured that further investigations will be conducted and immediate action will be taken. We have formed an inter-governmental committee, along with a focal point from the Union, to manage and formally lodge complaints and to keep monitoring for such cases.

Minister Yumna Maumoon also mentioned that a document for regulations to protect the rights of artists is being drafted. These long term solutions will be put into place that further protect the rights of locals artists.

We would like to thank the Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the respective focal points that joined us from the Maldives Immigration and the ministries for taking the time to meet with us online. We hope that the outcomes we achieve from this will be beneficial for all artists that are working in the tourism industry in the Maldives.

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