Immigration working to clarify status of shantytown residents
Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette said yesterday that the undocumented people listed in the New Providence Shantytown Assessment Report, 2018, does not necessarily mean those people are illegal.
Symonette said the Department of Immigration is working with the Shantytown Action Task Force (SATF) to clarify those people’s statuses.
“The Department of Immigration, as with other departments and ministries, are involved in the compilation of the report that was just issued,” Symonette told The Nassau Guardian.
“… Whilst the figure may say ‘undocumented’, that does not necessarily mean they have no particular tie to The Bahamas.
“They might have been born here, lived here all of their lives and never physically got a permanent residency certificate or been issued one.
“So, immigration is working with the minister of labor in that report so that we produce a holistic answer to the whole issue.
“We are working to make sure as we regularize, whether it’s the electricity, the housing, whether it’s the location, it also includes the immigration status of these people.”
The report, released by Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, who chairs the SATF, found that 1,410 people reside in those communities.
In total, 428 households were assessed.
The report says 23 percent of the assessment forms did not capture the legal status of the heads of household interviewed as part of the survey.
For those whose legal status was captured, it was demonstrated that only a minority of six percent was undocumented.
The report shows that the Carmichael constituency has the largest representation (44 percent) of such households, followed by Golden Isles (31 percent) and then Elizabeth (25 percent).
The average shantytown household size is 3.3 people.
While 23 percent of the residents’ statuses was not captured, and six percent was recorded as being undocumented, 15 percent of the residents reported being citizens of The Bahamas; 21 percent reported being permanent residents; 32 percent reportedly have work permits and three percent have spousal permits, according to the report.
The assessment was performed over four weeks.