Are the Maldives heaven or hell for ambitious expats?

Are the Maldives heaven or hell for ambitious expats?

Are the Maldives heaven or hell for ambitious expats?

It’s a given that the Maldives is a tropical dream of a holiday destination, but living and working here may be less rewarding than most expats realise.

Beautiful beaches, calm waters and warm weather greet expats on arrival, but success in both career and personal life is essentially down to blending in with the islands’ unique culture and following its often restrictive rules. The laws are mostly waived in popular tourism areas, but are strict, adhere mostly to traditional Islamic laws and often have unpleasant consequences.

For expats moving to the islands for work purposes and wishing to have their long-term partners join them, cohabitation must be accompanied by a marriage certificate as it’s otherwise banned, with the punishment stated as flogging. Conservative dress is a must, with both sexes needing to wear at least knee-length trousers and t-shirts when at the beach on weekends. The local people cover up to an even greater extent.

From hand-holding upwards, public displays of affection are forbidden as they’re considered vulgar, with expats in particular advised to respect this law if they want to survive in their careers as well as in the local community. If you’re thinking of bringing your dog along when you emigrate, you’ll need to find another destination as dogs are illegal, considered as unclean and wont be allowed in. Cats, however, are welcome, as are other pets.

If you’re used to talking business whilst sipping a glass of anything alcoholic or even enjoying a fine wine whilst dining, forget it, as alcohol is illegal unless it’s being consumed by a tourist. Plus points include non-existent income tax, low business profit tax and straightforward work visas, but getting citizenship involves converting to Islam. If you’re still tempted to give the Maldives a try as a working expat, work visas are your only option as working on a tourist visa is illegal and results in deportation.

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