New work permits for Haitians on hold

Given the economic, political and security crises ensnaring Haiti, the government of The Bahamas has announced that no new work permit applications for Haitian citizens will be processed until such time as revised protocols are introduced to verify and authenticate documents issued by the Haitian government and the Haitian National Police.

At a press conference on Friday, Immigration Minister Keith Bell also announced that new and existing permit to reside applications for Haitian citizens will only be considered on a case-by-case basis and approvals will only be granted in the most exceptional circumstances.

Bell said all existing work permit applications and renewals for work permits will be subjected to the most vigorous review and scrutiny.

Applicants should note that as a consequence, the time frame for the processing and determination of such applications will be impacted, he said.

On Thursday, The Miami Herald reported that the killing of six police officers in an armed attack against a police substation resulted in armed men claiming to be police revolting in the streets, scouring the premises of Port-au-Prince’s international airport and the police headquarters searching for the country’s prime minister, Ariel Henry.

Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis ordered an immediate involuntary departure from Haiti of all Bahamian diplomatic personnel that same day.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Friday that all seven Bahamian diplomats, including the spouse of the chargé d’ affaires, were airlifted out of Port-au-Prince by helicopter and landed in the Dominican Republic.

Bell announced the Department of Immigration’s policy adjustment in light of the worsening situation in Haiti.

He said The Bahamas maintains a strict regulatory framework for the review and processing of all immigration applications.

This process requires each applicant to produce various reports and certifications from their home countries.

A key report is a character certificate from local police authorities to confirm any criminal history of an applicant.

Bell noted that in many instances, the department may require applicants to attend the Bahamian embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country when immigration officials require enhanced verification.

“The government of The Bahamas is resolute in its commitment to protect its borders and enforce its immigration laws,” he said.

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