Over the years, the Maldives has made remarkable progress in building a conducive economic environment for foreign investments. This has been achieved through a number of policy and legislative changes that have seen a remarkable increase in the inflow of foreign investments. In the Maldives, there are a number of entry routes for foreign investors. These include the standard Foreign Direct Investment procedure, Unsolicited Proposals made to the Government, the Government Public Tendering Process, Public-Private Partnerships and Investments made under the Special Economic Zone umbrella.
How we help clients
At Atoll Chambers, we provide prospective investors end-to-end, boots-on-the-ground legal-administrative support needed for investors which includes, but not limited to, local representation, registration and incorporation of investment vehicles as well as any other liaising or collaborations as required based on the type and nature of investment.
On a more advisory prospect, we also advise investors—both prospective and current— on key legal issues and matters on multiple areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
- A foreign national;
- Foreign companies and partnerships (either wholly owned by foreigners or is jointly co-owned by foreigners and Maldivians);
- Partnerships registered by foreign nationals or entities;
- Companies with foreign shareholdings;
- Foreign Companies re-registered in the Maldives; or
- Any Maldivian or a foreigner who submits a Foreign Investment Proposal.
- By way of obtaining a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approval;
- Unsolicited Proposals made directly to, and approved by, the Government of Maldives;
- Public Tendering Process or Public Private Partnership (PPP) Initiatives; or
- Under the Special Economic Zone Act.
FDI approval is given under two routes. Namely, they are through the ‘Automatic’ or the ‘Government’ route depending on the sector for which approval is sought.
The Automatic Route refers to the guaranteed approval for applications that meet the required investment requirements and thresholds as well as the required shareholding percentage as listed under the Annex 1 of the Foreign Direct Investment Policy.
The Government Route refers to the applications seeking approval for sectors which, due to sensitivities in investments, an approval is not automatically guaranteed and is granted subject to such application being approved by relevant governmental departments and agencies.
Yes. All foreign investors granted with a FDI approval are required to register their business in the Maldives. Foreign investments may register the business as a limited liability company under the Companies Act or as a partnership (general or limited liability) under the Partnerships Act.
There is no restriction for foreign persons or entities to take part in public tenders. However, it should be noted that not all public tenders, for example small to medium scale tenders or tenders which are exclusively targeted to local vendors, may allow foreign participation. The rules whether allowing or restricting foreign participation in public tenders is set out in the tender documents relevant to each individual tenders.
Foreign parties or joint ventures between a local and foreign entities are not required to register their business to take part in a public tender. However, if such party is successful in the tender where an award letter is issued by the procuring office, it shall then be required for such foreign party to register their business in the Maldives. The party may proceed to formally sign the awarded contract only after formal registration under the Business Registration Act.
An Unsolicited Proposal (USP) is a proposal by a foreign party submitted to the Government of Maldives without an invitation or call for proposals. USPs were allowed following the publishing of the first “Unsolicited Proposals Policy” by the Government in 2019 and aims to harness private-sector innovation and capabilities in delivery of strategic projects of the Government.
Under the Unsolicited Proposals Policy, it is encouraged by the Government of Maldives for private parties to submit USPs that either:
- Identifies strategic projects that the Government has not identified, but conform with the broad developmental agenda of the Government, or;
- Propose innovative and affordable solutions to the needs of the Government as has been identified in its strategic development plans.
No. It is necessary for any Unsolicited Proposal (USP) to be accepted that such project under the proposal is not currently tendered or in the process of procurement or if the project has been substantially developed for procurement prior to the receipt of the USP.
Unsolicited Proposals (USPs) submitted to the government shall be submitted to the Invest Maldives Office under the Ministry of Economic Development.