The government is owed approximately $5 million in work permit fees, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette said yesterday.
He noted that migrants with unpaid work permits will be “deemed to be an illegal immigrant” and ultimately deported.
Symonette did not indicate how long these fees have been unpaid.
“I was advised yesterday by the Department of Immigration that there is some $5 million outstanding in fees from people who have been issued letters approving their permits but have not come in to pay for them,” Symonette told reporters outside Cabinet.
“There’s a life expectancy of those letters of 30 days. Now, I accept that there is a problem at the post office and everything else like that, but just so everyone knows, if a person does not come in and pay for their permit — [because] usually they walk around for months with this in their hand — they will be considered as an illegal immigrant and deported, irrespective of how many times they’ve had a work permit.”
In September 2018, the Department of Immigration launched a fully automated system for work permit applications.
By November 2018, the department was still facing a backlog of approximately 10,000 applications.
Symonette has said he hopes the new system would lead to “a faster process of work permits being issued”.
Addressing the backlog yesterday, the immigration minister said, “Work permits, I’m told, are getting out in six weeks. We’re down to six weeks in getting a response. One third of them are being emailed to the respondents, the applicants. The other two thirds obviously go through the mail.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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