Antigua Observer:-The granting of temporary residency permits in Antigua & Barbuda, which was suspended in 2013, will be replaced by Residency Permits by the middle of June.”
People who have resided in the twin island state for a period of four years or more will qualify for Residency Permits.
“We are working on this, hopefully, we can roll it out in the middle of June ,” Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark said in an interview with OBSERVER media.
The chief immigration officer said non-nationals residing lawfully in the country for four years will qualify for the permit which is valid for three years. It, however, gives the applicant the authority to reside and not work.
In 2010, a three-member committee, which was tasked with looking into matters pertaining to the country’s immigration, work permit, and voter registration system, recommended that government disband or discontinue the issuance of temporary resident certificates.
Committee member and lawyer E Ann Henry said the system of granting temporary residency certificates was one area they felt should be discontinued.
“We came to the view that as the temporary resident certificate only gives a right to reside and nothing more, we do not consider that it adds value to the whole process and the whole situation,” she said.
Mark said there will be a period of public education prior to the introduction of the programme.
The Immigration Department will also be imposing a delinquency fee on people who fail to regularise their status for whatever reason.
The immigration boss said despite an amnesty programme granted to non-nationals who had no legal time in the country, there are a few people who have failed to come forward.
“We will be introducing a delinquency fee for those persons who did not come forward because we need people to straighten out their time,” Mark said.