Living and working in the Maldives may seem like an easy choice, but it is not. The Republic of Maldives is a country made up of atolls and islands (about 1,200) that lie in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is famous for its beautiful beaches and coral reefs, which make it an international tourist destination. Tourism is even the main source of the country’s GDP.
Living in the Maldives
It is known that its islands are beautiful, and it is also possible to visit many of these uninhabited islands which is fantastic. In some places you can walk from one island to another at low tide. With a total population of just over 300,000, it is the most sparsely populated country in Asia. Instead, the capital Male’ is where most of the services are located, so many people move here from the islands for better health centers or better schools, which has made Male’ one of the most densely populated capitals in the world. The official language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, which is spoken only by Maldivians. However, since English is also taught in schools, most people, especially young people, also speak English fluently.
Keep in mind that the Maldives is a Muslim country, and although Islam is lived tolerantly, wearing clothes that are too tight and/or skimpy is viewed negatively, and it is not even advisable to show too much affection for your partner in public so as not to disturb the locals. In addition, alcohol is only available in the resorts and in some special places.
About the services: Medical care is free and education is also free. The food is quite different from what you are used to. Most of the local cuisine is tuna based. Almost all dishes are made with tuna and coconut milk.
Living in the Maldives, visas
To live in the Maldives, a visa is required, of which there are several types.
- Free tourist visa, is issued on arrival and has a validity of 30 days
- Residence visa, in case of marriage with a Maldivian citizen
- Work visa, which must be applied for by an employer based in the Maldives before the arrival of the employee
- Business visa, which must be applied for by the local business partner prior to the applicant’s arrival
- Dependent Family Visa, issued to the spouse and childrenof a work visa holder.
On the other hand, it is impossible for foreigners to obtain a permanent residence permit, even if they have lived here for a long time.
Living and working in the Maldives – pros and cons
Living in the Maldives, pros
- Beauty of the islands
- Excellent weather
- Cheap food costs (if you adapt to the local cuisine with rice and fish)
- Simple and relaxed life that allows you to find time for yourself
Living in the Maldives, cons
- High rental costs (due to the lack of space on the islands, there are very few accommodations). A decent two-bedroom flat in Malé can cost $2,000 per month
- High cost of living, some activities are free (e.g. going to the beach) but for everything else you have to pay salt
- A somewhat boring life, as the usual entertainment options are completely absent
- Difficult integration, Maldivians are closed minded and distrust foreigners.
- High cost of food if you do not adapt to the local cuisine (almost all products are imported)
In light of the above, make sure you have a decent salary before signing an employment contract in the Maldives, or at least have accommodation included.
Working in the Maldives
There are many foreign workers in the Maldives: doctors, teachers, hospitality workers and other professionals The average salary in the Maldives is about $1.000. In general, the work of foreigners tends to be better paid.
If you want to find a job in Maldives, you have several options:
- International companies based in the Maldives
One option is to approach international companies that are also based in the Maldives and are more likely to hire you than local companies. Look for companies that might be interested in you, contact them and send them your CV and cover letter.
- Temporary employment agencies
Temporary employment agencies, as in the rest of the world, offer the possibility of finding work. There are international and local.
- Websites for job search
There are several websites where you can search for work, some are agencies, others are websites with job offers. In any case, the most important websites for job search in Maldives are:
Working in the Maldives, yes or no?
This decision depends on your profession, your employer, whether you will be staying in a resort and whether you are a man or a woman.
If you work at a resort, you can expect to live on an island in the middle of the ocean, in a peaceful environment surrounded only by water. If you think this situation is perfect, then the Maldives is for you. Food and accommodation are included, so you do not have to pay anything, you have practically no expenses and everything is a win.
If you work in the capital, you will live in a chaotic city full of motorcycles and cars. The wages are higher than what you earn on the islands, but the costs are higher. It is almost impossible to rent an apartment, pay the bills and meet the other expenses unless you have a very high salary.
When choosing the Maldives as a place to work, it is important to remember that it is a country where 100% of the inhabitants are Muslims and Islam is the state religion and the only religion allowed, and that the legal system is based on Sharia law. Flogging is regularly imposed for extramarital sexual relations, a punishment that happens to affect almost exclusively women. Infibulation is still practiced, women are almost always excluded from the labor market, and their education often ends at elementary school. There are also many cases of sexual and physical violence.