Bill would establish an Immigration Appeals Tribunal
The proposed Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, 2018, would establish a Nationality Advisory Commission, a Board of Immigration and an Immigration Appeals Tribunal under which the laws would be carried out.
The National Advisory Commission would be appointed by Cabinet, comprising 11 members, inclusive of the commissioner, the bill states.
The commission would receive and investigate all applications for registration and naturalization for citizenship; advise the minister on all such applications for registration and naturalization and all decisions relating to deprivation of citizenship and restoration of citizenship; and advise the minister on any other matters on which the commission’s advice is sought.
The commission would also promote public debate and public understanding of issues of nationality and citizenship, and at the request of the minister, undertake special projects relating to nationality and citizenship issues.
The bill further establishes a new Board of Immigration, comprising of 15 members appointed by and holding office at the pleasure of the Cabinet.
The board would replace Cabinet as the body responsible for the administration of matters connected with the entry, residence and occupation of individuals in The Bahamas.
The board would also hear appeals from the decisions of the director of immigration.
While Cabinet will no longer have those onerous responsibilities, it will still have oversight of the board, the bill states.
The board would have a chairman, a deputy chairman, six other individuals from the community of New Providence, three legal residents of the Family Islands, the president of the Bahamas Christian Council or his designate, the director of immigration and two other senior immigration officers chosen by the director.
Additionally, the draft bill proposes the establishment of an Immigration Appeals Tribunal, which would comprise of 18 members.
The tribunal members would include a chairman, five deputy chairmen and a panel of 12 other individuals.
“This may appear to be ambitious, but I believe it will improve the public perception of immigration,” said Law Reform Commissioner Dame Anita Allen, in an explanatory memorandum of the bill.
“Apart from the fact that appeals are a necessary party of due process, the tribunal will make the immigration process appear more transparent and fair.”