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India, Maldives to implement liberalised visa regime

Representative picture. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 12, 2019, 07.44 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

In a bid to ease people-to-people contact between India and Maldives, both the countries on Tuesday exchanged Diplomatic Notes for the implementation of the Visa Facilitation Agreement.

The agreement introduces a liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals who want to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes and vice versa. The agreement also makes it easier for Indians to travel to the Maldives for business purposes. 

The agreement will be effective from March 11, 2019, after, "all formalities including information being provided to all Immigration Offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed," the MEA noted in its release. 

Diplomatic Notes are exchanged after the Cabinet's approval and President's signature.

The Visa Facilitation Agreement was signed during the Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih's visit to India on December 17, 2018. During the visit, President Solih had said that the agreement will facilitate many Maldivians who send their children for education to India. It will also facilitate easier visa arrangements for Maldivian citizens and their families to come to India for medical treatment.

Indians form the second largest expatriate community in the Maldives with an approximate strength of around 22,000 people living in the island nation. The Indian community is also crucial to the Maldivian economy, consisting of workers as well as professionals like doctors, teachers, accountants, managers, engineers, nurses and technicians. 

Around 25 per cent of teachers in the island country is from India.

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The agreement will be effective from March 11, 2019, after, 'all formalities including information being provided to all Immigration Offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed,' the MEA noted in its release.