Immigration amnesty commences, thousands expected to benefit

As many as several thousand foreign nationals are expected to converge on the Immigration Department’s headquarters starting today as the amnesty programme commences.

Directed at those whose immigration status has lapsed and, as a result, have lost their eligibility to reside and work in the country, the Gaston Browne administration said the amnesty will give non-nationals the opportunity to regularise their stay without the fear
of harsh penalties.

Browne acknowledged that many people fell on hard times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may have encountered difficulties in fulfilling the immigration mandate.I

In preparation for the influx of foreign nationals, a shift system will be introduced at the immigration headquarters to facilitate the process until 30th April, 2022. The Immigration
Department will also operate during extended hours Monday through Friday, from 2 pm to – 8pm.

Last week, the Cabinet agreed that the amnesty will take a two-tiered approach.

“To regularise residency of anyone who has resided in Antigua more than four years but less than seven; and the other for those who have been resident in Antigua for more than seven years and would therefore qualify for citizenship.”

A decision was also made to reduce the fees associated with extensions and other requirements associated with the process.

“The amnesty processing fee will be EC $200.00 per person which will accompany the application form; and, an extension fee will be EC$150.00 for CARICOM nationals and
EC$300.00 for non-CARICOM nationals.“Those CARICOM Nationals who are seeking citizenship will have an additional base fee of
$2,000.00 and a processing fee of $200.00; and, for non-CARICOM nationals a base fee of $3,500.00 and a processing fee of $200.00 will apply,” the Cabinet Notes outlined.“Those CARICOM Nationals who are seeking citizenship will have an additional base fee of
$2,000.00 and a processing fee of $200.00; and, for non-CARICOM nationals a base fee of $3,500.00 and a processing fee of $200.00 will apply,” the Cabinet Notes outlined.

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