Jun 15, 2020 News
– leave voluntarily or risk being detained and deported
“Persons without an income could possibly resort to a life of crime in order to fend for themselves and their families. Though Sint Maarten is the friendly island and welcomes all visitors, illegal activities will no longer be tolerated. As such, the first step will be the removal of our overstayed guests in order to better handle our internal affairs…” – Sint Maarten statement
The Government of Sint Maarten will in the coming weeks begin to stringently enforce its immigration laws to minimise the numbers of persons residing illegally on the island.
“Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson would like to inform the general public that the Immigration laws of Sint Maarten will be strictly enforced in the coming weeks and months.
“Persons who currently reside in Sint Maarten without the legal documentation are advised to take this as a warning and should start making the necessary provisions to voluntarily leave the country or run the risk of getting detained and deported to their country of origin” a release stated.
“The National Ordinance of Admissions and Expulsions regulates the revocation of resident permits for person who no longer meet the requirements under which their permits were granted and the revocation of permanent resident permits for persons living abroad.”
As such, the Immigration and Border Protection Services will be collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development and Labor (VSA) and the Civil Registry Department to ensure that persons who are in possession of work and residence permits still meet the conditions of which they have acquired,” the press release stated.
It was noted that a number of persons continue to reside on the island following the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria which resulted in the economy being in a weakened state.
The release also noted that the still recovering economy also experienced a severe blow due the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has resulted in major job loss and many of its businesses having to close their doors or minimise their operations.
“Persons without an income could possibly resort to a life of crime in order to fend for themselves and their families. Though Sint Maarten is the friendly island and welcomes all visitors, illegal activities will no longer be tolerated. As such, the first step will be the removal of our overstayed guests in order to better handle our internal affairs.”
The minister also stated that the decision was made to temporarily suspend the process for first-time applicants for residence with exemptions being made for “persons holding critical positions,” who will however will undergo strict scrutiny before being granted a residence permit.
In addition, it has also temporarily suspended the granting of extensions for nonimmigrant stays, visas for pleasure purposes and the purpose of having a guarantor.
There is said to be a large population of Guyanese in Sint Maarten.
Several Guyanese have also traveled to the island for business and vacation. Many were stranded due to the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 would have travelled there on business or on vacation and are said to be in dire straits, having reportedly run out of funds.
On Sunday, 14 Guyanese returned from Sint. Maarten via Trans Guyana Airways. The flight also took six nationals to the Dutch/French territory.
The Honorary Consul for Guyana in Sint Maarten, Kim Lucas-Felix, has urged Guyanese with similar issues to contact the consul.
The Honorary Consul has affirmed knowledge of the stranded Guyanese and indicated that the consul had been in contact with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was in the process of determining the exact number of Guyanese stranded.
The National COVID 19 Taskforce revealed in March 2020 that ten applications from Guyanese nationals stranded on the island were approved. It was also disclosed that the approval was subject to all requirements of the Ministry of Public Health being met.
Guyanese stranded on the island are urged to make contact with the Consulate on tel. 527-0704 or email guyanahonoraryconsulsxm @gmail.com.
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