The Immigration Department is increasing its staff to facilitate the regularisation initiative being rolled out by the Virgin Islands Party government.
This was revealed by Premier Andrew Fahie who said the measure is to ensure that the influx of applications expected to be submitted is dealt with in a timely manner.
“It’s more work, obviously, and more persons have to be employed, at least on a temporary basis, because the Immigration Department, in its current state, would not have the personnel to deal with this capacity of work. So we have opened the doors for other persons to come and be trained from the community to help the Immigration Department,” Fahie said.
The Premier did not specify how much new Immigration workers will be recruited for the process nor did he say the cost associated with the recruitment.
But, in a bid to shed further light on why more Immigration workers are needed, the Premier explained the process which will be undertaken during the two-week regularise initiative.
“You have residency and then from residency, it’s at least 12 months before you can re-apply for Belongers. This process actually now allows you to apply for residency. Once you fulfil the criteria, then you move straight into Belongers” the Premier said.
He continued: “That is a special item in this ‘Grace & Mercy’ [period] that was not presented before. So, persons have an opportunity of a lifetime now to get both and that is the reason the cost is higher because of the timeframe and what is being granted to persons who qualify.”
The regularisation initiative is set to start on May 13 and the deadline for the submission of all applications for suitably qualified persons is May 31.
Under the initiative, expatriate residents who have been living in the territory for more than 15 years will be granted a two-week period to retain a more permanent Immigration status in the territory.
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