December 7, 2009

BARBADOS: Thompson says removal policy will only be implemented after amnesty


Posted by admin on 11/20/09 • Categorized as Barbados, Immigration

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Prime Minister David Thompson has warned that his government is ready to press ahead with the deportation of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals residing in Barbados illegally once the six-month amnesty for regularising their status expires at the end of the year.

Thompson, speaking to reporters during a nationally broadcast press conference Thursday evening, assured however that no one had been removed from the country under the guise of the amnesty since it was announced in May.

He said the process has been moving slower than anticipated due to problems stemming from the issuing of police certificates of character for those applying for the amnesty but that once that hurdle is cleared, his government’s new immigration policy will kick in with full force in the New Year.

“When the amnesty period is over on December 31, then the sanctions, if you want to call it that, or the second part of the policy then kicks in, which is the removal of those who are here illegally. Nothing has changed,” the Prime Minister said.

“That is still the government’s policy,” he added.

Thompson, who has direct responsibility for immigration matters, said the government has received roughly 300 applications for the amnesty.

He explained that around 6,000 applications for regular immigrant status and citizenship had also created a backlog at the Immigration Department but that those requests would have to be considered under the normal processing procedures.

The Prime Minister said his administration’s Green Paper on Immigration has only raised concerns and not settled policy – something that still has to happen.

“However, once a decision is made, there will be a rigorous implementation of our immigration policy. I’ve said so from the beginning and I remain absolutely committed to that particular objective. I am firm on that,” he said.

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