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New Turks and Caicos law halts path to permanent residency and citizenship

PROVIDENCIALES, TCI — The House of Assembly in the Turks and Cacios Islands (TCI) has passed a new law that stops the path to permanent residency status and eventual citizenship for foreign workers. This appears to affect numerous Haitian, Jamaican and Dominican Republic guest workers as well other Caribbean work permit holders. The new law only permits five or fewer renewals of work permits. The worker then has to return home and reapply for a new permit.

It is believed that a new permit will be difficult to obtain. This belief stems from immigration minister DonHue Gardiner’s comments in parliament shortly after the 2012 election, when he said, referring to workers who arrived illegally or remained with expired permits, “We must hunt them down and make their lives unbearable.”

In 2015, finance minister Washington Misick, who is the brother of corruption-accused former premier Michael Misick, told the House of Assembly that displays of national pride among Haitian nationals (legal guest workers) must be halted and suggested they return to Haiti.

While advertised as a way to open the door to wider employment for TCI nationals, the work performed by these guest workers as labourers, domestic workers or caregivers for the elderly and/or sick as small salary earners is not attractive to TCI citizens who actually employ the foreign workers.

A work permit holder previously was able to obtain permanent residency status by paying a $10,000 fee after renewing for ten years. Permanent residents could then apply for TCI citizenship through naturalisation. That path has now been eliminated.

On the other hand, the new law gives citizenship to anyone born in TCI, irrespective of the parents’ status. This would appear to encourage illegals to overstay their work permits.

Source: Caribbean News Now

Jan 2, 2016

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 4, 2016 at 1:52 AM
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