The status of migrant workers in the Maldives: 'Precarious workers' or 'labour aristocrats'?
The purpose of this paper is to examine the status and experience of migrant workers in the Maldives. The paper explores how migrant workers are treated in the Maldives by applying the theoretical concepts: 'precariousness', 'vulnerability', and 'labour aristocracy'. The paper is based on interviews conducted with migrant workers and other stakeholders from various industry sectors and occupational levels, and data collected from various documentary sources. The theoretical scope is the debate on migrant workers and their vulnerability. The paper reveals that employers across the sectors of the economy prefer to recruit migrant workers for various reasons, including the perceived usefulness of migrant workers, to save labour costs and as a result of the negative stereotype of local workers. The paper uncovers that migrant workers in general are subject to 'precariousness' or 'vulnerability' in varying degrees. However, both unskilled and professional migrant workers in resorts receive preferential treatment in several aspects of their employment, and the professional migrant workers in resorts can be regarded as 'labour aristocrats'.