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					           TURKS & CAICOS




             REPORT


                OF THE




IMMIGRATION REVIEW COMMISSION



           FEBRUARY 2004




           Commissioned by

       HON. JEFFREY HALL
         Minister of Immigration
                                                 REPORT OF THE

             IMMIGRATION REVIEW COMMISSION
                                                     February 2004




                                                  CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. TURKS & CAICOS NATIONALITY ............................................................................................ 5
    1.1 Automatic Acquisition of TCI Status ................................................................................ 5
    1.2 Acquisition of TCI Status by Grant – Spouses of Belongers ............................................. 6
    1.3 Acquisition of TCI Status by Grant – Children of Belongers ............................................ 7
    1.4 Acquisition of TCI Status by Grant – Assimilated Persons ............................................... 8
    1.5 The Granting of TCI Status – the Citizenship Commission............................................. 10
    1.6 Revocation of TCI Status................................................................................................. 11
    1.7 Regularisation of Existing Long-Term Residents ............................................................ 12
    1.8 Possible Replacement of the term “Belonger” ................................................................. 15
2. THE RIGHT TO RESIDE ............................................................................................................. 17
    2.1  New Categories of Long-Term Residency ....................................................................... 17
    2.2  Home-Owner’s Permit ..................................................................................................... 18
    2.3  Business Investor’s Permit .............................................................................................. 20
    2.4  Permanent Residency Status ............................................................................................ 21
    2.5  Rights of Non-Belonger Spouses of Belongers and their Children .................................. 25
    2.6  Short-Term Residency Permits ........................................................................................ 26
3. THE RIGHT TO WORK ............................................................................................................... 27
    3.1  The Right to Work and Belonger Preference .................................................................. 27
    3.2  Business Owner’s Permit................................................................................................. 28
    3.3  Freelancer’s Permit .......................................................................................................... 29
    3.4  Employee’s Permits – Applications and Renewals .......................................................... 31
    3.5  Employee’s Permits – Advertisements ............................................................................ 33
    3.6  Employee’s Permits – Labour Clearances ....................................................................... 34
    3.7  Employee’s Permits – Encouragement of Training ......................................................... 35
    3.8  Employee’s Permits – Staffing Plans ............................................................................... 37
    3.9  Employee’s Permits – Change of Employment ............................................................... 38
    3.10 Employee’s Permits – Professional Employees ............................................................... 39
    3.11 Employee’s Permits – Persons already Resident ............................................................. 39
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                                                                     February 2004



       3.12       Temporary and Emergency Work Permits ....................................................................... 40
       3.13       Business Visitor’s Permit ................................................................................................ 41
       3.14       Term Limits ..................................................................................................................... 41
       3.15       Measures to Relieve Strain on Social Services and Culture ............................................ 43
       3.16       Working without a Permit ............................................................................................... 44
       3.17       The Work Permit Board .................................................................................................. 45
       3.18       Role of the Minister of Immigration ................................................................................ 46
4. IMMIGRATION APPEALS TRIBUNAL .................................................................................... 49
    4.1 Establishment of the Tribunal.......................................................................................... 49
    4.2 Appeal Procedure ............................................................................................................ 49
5. CONTROL OF ENTRY ................................................................................................................ 51
   5.1  Exemption from Restriction on Entry .............................................................................. 51
   5.2  Refusal of Entry............................................................................................................... 52
   5.3  Visas ................................................................................................................................ 53
   5.4  Travel Letters................................................................................................................... 55
   5.5  Student Visas ................................................................................................................... 56
6. ENFORCEMENT ......................................................................................................................... 57
    6.1 Persons Exempt from the Stop List and Deportation ....................................................... 57
    6.2 Stop List Procedure ......................................................................................................... 57
    6.3 Deportation ...................................................................................................................... 58
    6.4 Border Control – Illegal Immigrants ............................................................................... 59
    6.5 Refugees and Stateless Persons ....................................................................................... 63
7. THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT........................................................................................ 65
    7.1  Organisation .................................................................................................................... 65
    7.2  Training ........................................................................................................................... 66
    7.3  Facilities and Resources .................................................................................................. 67
    7.4  Dealings with the Public .................................................................................................. 68
    7.5  Enforcement Practices ..................................................................................................... 69
    7.6  Need for a Fully Computerised Immigration System....................................................... 70
8. FEES ............................................................................................................................................. 73
    8.1     Levels of Fees .................................................................................................................. 73
    8.2     Payments and Refunds..................................................................................................... 75
9. OTHER MATTERS ...................................................................................................................... 77
   9.1  National Identity Card ..................................................................................................... 77
   9.2  Immigration Consultants ................................................................................................. 78
   9.3  Familiarisation with Turks & Caicos ............................................................................... 79
   9.4  Medical Requirements ..................................................................................................... 79
   9.5  Drafting Considerations – Regard to the Laws in Similar Jurisdictions .......................... 80

APPENDIX - Terms of Reference ....................................................................................................... 81




                                                                    - ii -
                                        TURKS & CAICOS




                                         REPORT OF THE


                    IMMIGRATION REVIEW COMMISSION

                                         February 2004




                                     INTRODUCTION

                                THE COMMISSION AND ITS WORK

The Immigration Review Commission was appointed by the Minister of Immigration, the Honourable
Jeffrey Hall, on 1 October 2003, and charged with the responsibility of conducting the review of all
aspects of immigration law and procedure in Turks & Caicos. The Commission comprises the following
members:
  R. Don-Hue Gardiner, Lawyer – Chairman
  Leo Selver, Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Immigration – Secretary
  Sean Astwood, Businessman, former Minister of Natural Resources
  Clayton Been, Businessman
  Harold Charles, CEO of SkyKing, (Chamber of Commerce’s Businessman of the Year, 2002)
  Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, Lawyer, former Member of Legislative Council
  Thomas Saunders, Immigration consultant and former Director of Immigration
  Richard Savory, Lawyer, President of the Bar Association, and Elections Adjudicator
  Wendal Swann, Lawyer, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, former Minister of Social
    Services, and Vice-President of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce
  Michael Taylor, Businessman and former Superintendent of Police
  Rochelle Thompson, Senior bank officer
  Desmond Wilson, Director of Immigration

The terms of reference given to the Commission were extremely wide. They are set out in the Appendix.
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                                   February 2004



The Commission spent two and a half months in its investigative phase, during which time it held public
meetings in each of the main islands, held sessions to hear private submissions, visited relevant
government departments, met with the Governor, the Police, the Immigration Board and the
Commissioner of Labour, met with representatives of the Government of Haiti, and studied numerous
written submissions, and other materials. In November the members of the Commission split into three
delegations for the purpose of visiting the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Those visits,
which lasted for four full days, were particularly useful, and the Commission is extremely grateful to the
governments of those countries which in each case gave the visiting delegation excellent access,
assistance and hospitality.


                                     THE COMMISSION‟S APPROACH
The Commission based its approach to its task on the premise that any immigration system should be
clear, fair and transparent, as well as consistent with international standards.
There has been a substantial increase in the resident population in Turks & Caicos over the past 20 years
and this has contributed greatly to the growth of the economy. It has also put pressure on health and
educational facilities and given rise to a general public concern.
The immigration system itself has almost reached saturation point, and needs much more by way of
resources to cope with the numbers involved. This notwithstanding, the rate of development is steadily
growing, which means that for the foreseeable future the demand to increase the labour force and to bring
in people from overseas will continue to be strong, regardless of the stresses on our society and our social
services.
Latest estimates put the Belonger population at 52% of the total population. The identified Haitian
population represents 25% of the total population. The next largest groups are: USA and Dominican
Republic, 3½% each; Bahamas, UK, and Canada, 2% each; and all others, 10%. Many suspect, given
the number of illegals in our midst, that the proportion is somewhat higher. It has been said that the
Haitian immigrant is different from other expatriates in that most have no intention of returning to their
homeland. Certainly statistics show that many more Haitians have children born inside Turks & Caicos
than Belongers who, for a number of reasons, prefer to have their children born in the USA. In the last
three years births to Belongers within Turks & Caicos represent approximately one-third only of the total
number of births.
The Commission believes that it is essential to the proper development of the country that we continue to
attract and retain people with specialised skills and expertise. Such people are critical to our success as a
nation, as a tourist destination and as a financial centre.
Many immigrants become directly responsible for the training of Turks & Caicos Islanders in areas where
there are severe shortages in the local work force. Many become involved in community projects and
other voluntary work that help to raise the quality of life of the Turks & Caicos people.
Over time, the people who have come to live here feel more and more attached to the country and begin to
look for more security of residence. Firms who have employees who have become valuable to their
business naturally want those employees to remain. It is inevitable then that the proportion of indigenous
Turks & Caicos Islanders in the country's permanent population will continue to decrease. In order to be
able to set and adjust immigration policy, it is vital that we have a system that facilitates the identification
and differentiation of those residents who need or deserve to be integrated as long-term members of the




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Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                                February 2004



community, those who should not qualify as long-term residents, and those who for whatever reason have
no intention to become long-term residents.
The Commission believes that any new legislative framework should incorporate the following criteria:
1.    All aspects of the immigration system should be transparent. Everyone should be able to know the
      applicable criteria by which he or she has been or will be assessed. Wherever possible, proposed
      changes should be publicly known in advance and those affected given time to make the necessary
      adjustments.
2.    Persons considered to be in breach of the immigration law must be treated humanely, and the
      principles of natural justice should apply at all levels of the immigration system.
3.    There must be a population policy which is based on ethnic diversity.
4.    The primary factors in the decision to allow a firm to employ a non-Belonger should be:
      (a) The availability of the employee's skills within the current Belonger labour force.
      (b) The employer's record of training and promoting Belongers within their field of business.
5.    Firms should be assessed by means of a staffing plan system. Depending on their size, firms should
      be encouraged or required to submit a staffing plan covering a 3 to 5 year period and containing full
      details of all training, scholarships and succession planning offered by the employer.
6.    Long-term work-permit holders who have become assimilated into the community should have the
      opportunity to become permanent residents. However there should be a “pre-qualifying” set of
      attributes contained in a “points system”, embodied in regulations, which would reflect the policy
      of the Government of the day and act as a “filter” as to the type of person joining the permanent
      population.
7.    There should be a clear path to the acquisition of national status, but the acquisition of that
      privilege should not be automatic and should be subject to a number of criteria designed to
      maintain social and political stability.

Immigration policy (like all government policies) should be stable and long-term. Short-term measures
can cause concern and be counter-productive. With sound legislation, the Government has the
opportunity to demonstrate a clear vision of nation-building and economic growth.

An enlightened immigration policy is built on the vision that all migrants are potential fellow-citizens and
on the realisation that a decline in human capital leads to a collective decline of skills, knowledge and
opportunities within the nation. Successful immigration leads to the building-up of the critical mass that
is essential to the modern state. If the necessary numbers of skilled people are not maintained, the
country’s international competitiveness is reduced and the business opportunities for Turks & Caicos
people are restricted. As history has shown, when opportunities are limited, home-grown talent is driven
overseas, thus further exacerbating the decline in the economy. A nation that does not attract migrants
cannot keep its own people. On the other hand, too, we need to be aware of the changes in the world and
the trend towards globalisation. Even if opportunities exist here, there will be a proportion of our bright
young students who, having elected to work and gain their experience in other countries, begin to grow
roots elsewhere and do not return to Turks & Caicos in the short-term or at all.

A well-administered immigration policy enhances the quality of the populace and fosters the country's
international linkages. Immigrant success stories are good public relations stories. But the integration of



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Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                            February 2004



immigrants into the community goes well beyond immigration policy, and must be addressed in both
education and social policy. We need a sense of social participation to ensure social cohesion. We need
an understanding that everyone’s well-being is maximised if everyone perceives and receives the benefit
of social and economic participation and economic growth.

Ultimately, the question is not whether more immigrants are needed. The real issue is how to bring about
the maximum and comfortable assimilation of immigrants into Turks & Caicos society, making it easier
for the incumbent population and ensuring that newcomers take on and observe the values of Turks &
Caicos Islanders.




                                    ________________________




                                                 - 4 -
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                           February 2004



                                RECOMMENDATIONS


1.   TURKS & CAICOS NATIONALITY


     1.1     AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION OF TCI STATUS

             Background
             From the submissions made at public meetings and from its observations in the Bahamas,
             Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, the Commission is of the view that national status
             should be reserved for persons who by birth, marriage or assimilation into the community
             are closely connected to the life and culture of Turks & Caicos. Therefore, in considering
             the question of who should have TCI status as a birthright, the Commission placed
             emphasis on the connection of a person’s parents to Turks & Caicos at the time of his or
             her birth.
             A number of people at the public meetings expressed the strong view that anyone born in
             Turks & Caicos should have TCI status, either automatically or on reaching the age of 18
             and having a good record of conduct. Several times the Commission heard statements
             like “If you’re born here, you’re born here.” and “Where your string is cut is where you
             belong.”.
             The Commission notes that the Constitution confers the right to vote and to run for
             election on all persons born in Turks & Caicos, whether Belongers or otherwise. As a
             general proposition, the Commission believes that the right to vote and freedom from
             immigration restriction are both important rights of citizenship and should coincide.
             On the other hand, the Commission has accepted that birth in Turks & Caicos, by itself,
             should not automatically confer full citizenship. If that were the case, people from
             neighbouring countries would have extra incentive to travel to Turks & Caicos for the
             purpose of having children here. Nevertheless, based on public sentiment, the
             Commission believes people born in Turks & Caicos should, if they become assimilated,
             have a preferential right to obtain Belonger status after reaching the age of majority.

             Recommendations
             1.1.1      A person should have Belonger status automatically if he or she –
                        (a)   is born in Turks & Caicos of a parent who at the time of the birth
                              has Belonger status and who was born in the Islands
                        (b)   is born in Turks & Caicos of a parent who at the time of the birth
                              has Belonger status and is legally and ordinarily resident in Turks
                              & Caicos
                        (c)   is born outside the Islands of a parent who at the time of the birth
                              has TCI status and is ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos and
                              who –



                                               - 5 -
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                          February 2004



                              (i)    was born in Turks & Caicos, or
                              (ii)   was born outside Turks & Caicos at a time when one of
                                     his parents were legally and ordinarily resident in Turks
                                     & Caicos
                        (d)   acquired Belonger status under any previous law.
             1.1.2      Children born in Turks & Caicos of parents who are not Belongers
                        should not automatically acquire Belonger status (or the right to vote),
                        but they should be favourably considered for Belonger status if they grow
                        up in the country, reach the age of 18, and are of good health and
                        character. (See paragraphs 1.4.1(d), 1.7.1(b) and 2.4.5(c) of this Report.)
                        This should only apply if at least one parent was legally and ordinarily
                        resident in Turks & Caicos at the time of the birth.

     1.2     ACQUISITION OF TCI STATUS BY GRANT – SPOUSES OF BELONGERS

             Background
             In the public meetings there was a high level of concern at the incidence of marriages of
             convenience, and some people felt that the minimum period for living together (currently
             five years) should be extended. Having regard to the widespread concern and to
             legislation in other jurisdictions, the Commission feels that new legislation should
             balance the need to prevent marriages of convenience with the undesirability of placing
             an undue burden on a Belonger who has a legitimate and thriving marriage to a non-
             Belonger.

             Recommendations
             1.2.1      A non-Belonger spouse of a Belonger should be able to obtain a grant of
                        Belonger status upon application to the Citizenship Commission if he/she
                        and the Belonger have lived together after marriage continuously during
                        the 7 years immediately preceding the application, and have been legally
                        and ordinarily resident in the Islands for the two years immediately
                        preceding the application.
             1.2.2      The new legislation should contain a definition of a marriage of
                        convenience, as follows: “A marriage entered into with the primary
                        intention of avoiding or benefiting from any of the provisions of this
                        Ordinance.”
             1.2.3      The new legislation should make it a criminal offence to enter into a
                        marriage of convenience, with a maximum penalty of a fine of $10,000
                        and imprisonment for two years.




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     1.3     ACQUISITION OF TCI STATUS BY GRANT – CHILDREN OF BELONGERS

             Background
             There are cases where a child of a Belonger is not a Belonger by birth. Usually this will
             be where the child is a step-child of or has been adopted by a Belonger. It is also possible
             for a biological child of a Belonger not to be a Belonger by birth if the parent was not
             ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos at the time of the birth. For example, a person born
             in the USA may have Belonger status by descent. That person may spend his life in the
             USA and have children of his own. Those children would not be Belongers by birth or by
             descent. There is also the case of the children of expatriates who have been granted
             Belonger status. Under the existing law, those children who are under 18 automatically
             become Belongers. The Commission considers that all minor non-Belonger children of
             Belongers should be required to have spent a minimum period of time in Turks & Caicos
             with a satisfactory police record before becoming eligible for Belonger status. This
             would mean they would have to apply for Belonger status, but the application process
             should be as straightforward as possible.
             In the case of adopted children, the Commission notes that the Adoption Ordinance
             permits adoptions up to the age of 21, but feels that only children under the age of 18 who
             are adopted by a Belonger should be eligible for Belonger status.

             Recommendations
             1.3.1      A non-Belonger child of a person with Belonger status (however
                        acquired) should be entitled upon application to a grant of Belonger
                        status if he or she is under the age of 19 and a dependant of the Belonger
                        at the time of the application and –
                        (a)    being the biological child of the Belonger, has been ordinarily
                               resident in Turks & Caicos for the 12 months immediately
                               preceding the application, or
                        (b)    being the adopted child of a Belonger, was adopted at least 12
                               months before the application and since adoption has been
                               ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos, or
                        (c)    being the step-child of a Belonger –
                               (i)    became a step-child at least 36 months before the
                                      application and since becoming a step-child has been
                                      ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos, and
                               (ii)   is supported in his or her application by the Belonger.
             1.3.2      It should be a requirement that the granting authority be satisfied that
                        the applicant is of good character and conduct, and has a satisfactory
                        police record.




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     1.4     ACQUISITION OF TCI STATUS BY GRANT – ASSIMILATED PERSONS

             Background
             Under the existing legislation, Belonger status is a privilege that can be bestowed by the
             Executive Council where it considers a person to have made “an outstanding contribution
             to the economic and social development of the Islands”. These words create a high
             standard, but it is clear from past grants that previous administrations gave them a very
             liberal interpretation, in some cases giving Belonger status blatantly in return for political
             “favours”. On the other hand, many people who are clearly within the intended standard
             have been completely overlooked. This reflects badly on our government process, causes
             disillusionment, and sadly discourages people from making contributions to the
             community.
             Moreover, the Commission feels that the existing standard for a grant of Belonger status
             appears to ignore persons who have become assimilated into the community but who may
             not have made any “outstanding” contribution in the sense intended.
             At the public meetings and in submissions received, the Commission noted the prevalent
             view in the community is that the grant of Belonger status should be dealt with by an
             independent body, and that there should be a minimum period of residence before persons
             could be eligible for Belonger status. There was an equally overwhelming view that
             persons who have spent many years in Turks & Caicos and who have demonstrated that
             they have become part of the community should be entitled to Belonger status, and that
             people should be entitled to apply for the status rather than it being left to Executive
             Council to offer it.
             The Commission likes the approach taken in the Cayman Islands, where there is a “step-
             up” process to achieving national status, with built-in “filters” along the way. The
             process would be tied in with a “term limit” system whereby work-permit holders would
             be required to leave after 7 years unless a special case could be made as to why they
             should remain and become eligible for Permanent Residency status. It is envisaged that
             there would be a “points system” for the grant of Permanent Residency status. (See
             paragraph 2.4.11(d).) The Commission considers that, as in Bermuda and the Cayman
             Islands, a person applying for Belonger status should first have become a British
             Overseas Territories Citizen under the British Nationality Act. The Commission
             considers that all Belongers should have the same status under British law.
             The grant of Belonger status is a most important event, conferring as it does all the rights,
             privileges and responsibilities of civic and political participation that this country has to
             offer. In the past, grants of Belonger status have not involved much more than the issue
             of a certificate in fairly basic form. The Commission holds firmly to the view that the
             granting of Belonger status should be given full and proper recognition.

             Recommendations
             1.4.1      A person should be considered for a grant of Belonger status if he or
                        she –
                        (a)    is legally and ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos and has been
                               so resident for at least 15 years



                                                - 8 -
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                      February 2004



                      (b)   has held a Permanent Residency Certificate for at least 6 years,
                            and
                      (c)   is a British Overseas Territories Citizen by connection with Turks
                            & Caicos, (BOTC(T&C)) and
                      (d)   satisfies the granting authority as to the matters mentioned in
                            paragraph 1.4.3 of this Report, except that in respect of a person
                            born in Turks & Caicos the provisions of paragraphs (h) to (l) of
                            that paragraph should not apply.
             1.4.2    There should be provision for the grant of Belonger status to persons who
                      have BOTC(T&C) status by virtue of statelessness and who are of good
                      health and character but who do not fill the above criteria. (See also
                      paragraph 6.5.3.)
             1.4.3    The decision to grant Belonger status should be made by a newly created
                      Citizenship Commission (see Section 1.5) which would be required to –
                      (a)   Be satisfied that (i) the applicant is of good character and conduct,
                            (ii) has to his credit three good character references received by the
                            Citizenship Commission directly from three reputable Belongers,
                            and (iii) has a satisfactory police record.
                      (b)   Be satisfied that the applicant is in substantially good health and
                            does not suffer from any form of communicable disease or mental
                            illness that would make him a danger to the community.
                      (c)   Be satisfied that the applicant has become assimilated into the life
                            and culture of the country.
                      (d)   Be satisfied that the continued residence of the applicant and his
                            family will not be to the detriment of the well-being of the
                            community in which he lives.
                      (e)   Be satisfied that the applicant is financially solvent and has not
                            been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been a
                            director of a company who knew or ought to have known that the
                            company continued to incur debts at a time when there was no
                            prospect of the debts being paid.
                      (f)   Be satisfied that the applicant has not been involved in organising,
                            engaging in or promoting any subversive political activity, racism
                            or illegal activity.
                      (g)   Be satisfied that the grant would not be contrary to the public
                            interest.
                      (h)   Give adequate consideration to the extent to which the applicant
                            has contributed to the well-being of the country.
                      (i)   Give adequate consideration to the number of dependants who
                            would become entitled to Belonger status and, where the number
                            of dependants who could become Belongers is more than three, be



                                           - 9 -
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                              satisfied that it would be in the interest of the country to grant the
                              application.
                        (j)   Give adequate consideration to the economic situation of the
                              country and the protection of persons engaged in similar gainful
                              occupations.
                        (k)   Give adequate consideration to the desirability of granting
                              Belonger status to applicants with different backgrounds and from
                              different geographical areas so that a suitable balance in the social
                              and economic life of the country may be maintained.
                        (l)   Give adequate consideration to the desirability of retaining the
                              economic resources of the country in the control of Belongers.
             1.4.4      Every applicant for Belonger status should be personally interviewed,
                        and should perform satisfactorily in a test of his/her knowledge of Turks
                        & Caicos.
             1.4.5      Every application should be advertised in two consecutive issues of a local
                        newspaper. The advertisement should contain the name and a clear
                        photograph of the applicant. The application should not be considered
                        until the expiry of 30 days after the appearance of the second
                        advertisement.
             1.4.6      If any adverse comment is received after publication of the
                        advertisements, a copy of the comments (but not details of the person
                        making them) should be sent to the applicant who should have the
                        opportunity to respond before the application is considered.
             1.4.7      There ought to be an official ceremony to mark the grant of Belonger
                        status.
             1.4.8      The certificate confirming the grant should be professionally designed
                        and printed, and should contain the official Turks & Caicos crest and an
                        official seal.

     1.5     THE GRANTING OF TCI STATUS – THE CITIZENSHIP COMMISSION

             Background
             Public opinion favoured the grant of Belonger status being in the hands of a statutory
             body. The Commission accepts the concept that the decision to grant rights of citizenship
             should be the responsibility of a body that, to the extent practically possible, is not
             susceptible to the pressures and influence of interested individuals. At public meetings
             there were differing views as to whether the Government of the day should have an
             overriding power to grant Belonger status. After full deliberation the Commission came to
             the view that there should be no such power and that all grants of status should be made
             by the statutory body. Much deliberation was also given to the composition of the body.




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             Recommendations
             1.5.1      There should be established a statutory body called the Citizenship
                        Commission, which should be made up of the following:
                        (a)   A Chairman nominated by the Chief Minister, who should not be a
                              Member of Legislative Council or a public officer.
                        (b)   Four other persons nominated by the Chief Minister, of whom two
                              should be Members of Legislative Council.
                        (c)   Four persons nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, of whom
                              two should be Members of Legislative Council (if available).
             1.5.2      The following provisions should apply to the Citizenship Commission:
                        (a)   The Chief Minister would nominate one of his other nominees who
                              is not an MLC to be the Deputy Chairman.
                        (b)   The Chairman (or in his absence the Deputy Chairman) would not
                              have an original vote but would have a casting vote.
                        (c)   There should be a Secretary and Assistant Secretary who should
                              be public officers and appointed by the Executive Council.
                        (d)   The members of the Citizenship Commission should be appointed
                              annually for one year.
                        (e)   Any member of the Citizenship Committee who is not a public
                              officer or MLC should not be eligible to serve consecutive terms,
                              but should be eligible for later re-appointment.
             1.5.3      A date in each year should be specified as the deadline for the making of
                        applications for TCI status. It should be a requirement that the
                        Citizenship Commission be appointed after that deadline and could
                        consider only those applications made before the deadline.
             1.5.4      The Citizenship Commission would meet as necessary to process
                        applications for Permanent Residency status.
             1.5.5      There should be no appeal from a decision of the Citizenship
                        Commission, other than an application for judicial review.
             1.5.6      There should be no power vested in the Governor or the Executive
                        Council to grant TCI status.

     1.6     REVOCATION OF TCI STATUS

             Background
             Under the existing legislation, once a person has been granted Belonger status, it cannot
             be lost. The Commission believes that there are some limited circumstances which, if they
             arise, should render a grant of TCI status liable to be revoked.




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             Recommendations
             1.6.1      A grant of TCI status, whether before or after the passage of the new
                        legislation, should be liable to be revoked by the Citizenship
                        Commission –
                        (a)    If the application contained information that was materially false
                               or misleading.
                        (b)    If the Board is satisfied that the grant was obtained by means of
                               fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact.
                        (c)    If the grantee is convicted of a crime for which he is sentenced to
                               an immediate term of imprisonment of more than 12 months, or of
                               a crime which the Board considers was made possible or facilitated
                               by or connected with the grant of the Belonger status to the
                               offender.
                        (d)    If the holder has been ordinarily resident outside Turks & Caicos
                               for a period of 5 years and can no longer be said to be settled in
                               Turks & Caicos.
                        (e)    Where the holder is the spouse of a Belonger, if the Board is
                               satisfied that the marriage was a marriage of convenience, or if
                               within 3 years of the grant the marriage has ended.

     1.7     REGULARISATION OF EXISTING LONG-TERM RESIDENTS

             Background
             At all public meetings and in private submissions the common view was that there is an
             urgent need to “regularise” long-term residents to make them feel more part of the
             community and to give them the confidence to build homes. There was a high level of
             sympathy for the difficulties facing a large number of persons in the country who were
             either born here of foreign (predominantly Haitian) parents or were relocated to Turks &
             Caicos at an early age. Many of these individuals have now reached the age of maturity
             and in the view of the Commission need to be given the unrestricted right to live and
             work in the country. In the past we as a people have displayed insensitivity in our attitude
             to this matter and have taken the path of least resistance – a hands-off approach. It is the
             strong feeling of the Commission that prior to the implementation of any new
             immigration legislation there must be a regularisation process in relation to such persons
             and that they be embraced as well-meaning and contributing members of our society.

             Recommendations
             1.7.1      Long-time residents of Turks & Caicos need to be “regularised”.
                        (a)    In line with public sentiment, and as has recently been done
                               elsewhere, the Government should immediately instigate a process
                               whereby persons who have been living in the Turks & Caicos for




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                            many years have the opportunity to obtain status as a Belonger or
                            Permanent Resident.
                      (b)   Belonger status should be given to every person over the age of 18
                            who –
                            (i)     was born in Turks & Caicos, and
                            (ii)    is the biological child of a person who was legally and
                                    ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos at the time of the
                                    birth, and
                            (iii)   will have lived in Turks & Caicos for the 10 years
                                    preceding 31 December 2004 (i.e. the day preceding the
                                    recommended date of commencement of the new
                                    legislation), and
                            (iv)    is of good health and character.
                      (c)   Persons under the age of 18 who have the above qualifications
                            should be given Permanent Residency status with the unrestricted
                            right to work, and should be entitled to Belonger status if they
                            apply for it after turning 18 and if they remain of good health and
                            character.
                      (d)   Belonger status should be positively considered for those persons of
                            good health and character who were not born in Turks & Caicos
                            but who will have lived here for at least the 15 years immediately
                            preceding 31 December 2004, even those who may have resided
                            illegally for part of that term. Whether Belonger status is given
                            should depend upon the circumstances of each case, but one or
                            more of the following should be primary factors:
                            (i)     the extent to which the person has become assimilated in
                                    the community
                            (ii)    family connections in Turks & Caicos
                            (iii)   the contribution made to society
                            (iv)    the contribution made to the economy
                            (v)     the value to the country of the person‟s skills and
                                    experience
                            (vi)    the extent of the person‟s involvement in business in Turks
                                    & Caicos
                            (vii) in the case of a dependant, the immigration status of
                                  his/her parents.
                      (e)   Except where Belonger status is given, Permanent Residency status
                            should be given to persons of good health and character who were
                            not born in Turks & Caicos but who will have lived here for at
                            least the 10 years immediately preceding 31 December 2004. If the
                            person has been working, then generally the status should come
                            with the unrestricted right to work in any category. If it is thought



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                            necessary to restrict the person from working in specified
                            categories, those categories should be attached by way of a
                            schedule to the Certificate. However a person should not be
                            restricted from working in a category in which he/she has
                            previously been engaged.
                      (f)   Belonger status should be given to persons who have BOTC(T&C)
                            status by reason of having been stateless provided they are of good
                            health and character. Persons under the age of 10 who are
                            stateless or otherwise unable, legally or practically, to obtain a
                            passport should be granted Permanent Residency status with the
                            unrestricted right to work.
                      (g)   In anticipation of the new legislation coming into force on 1
                            January 2005 (the date recommended by the Commission), the
                            application process should start immediately, with an application
                            deadline of, say, 30 June 2004 to allow applications to be processed
                            before 31 December 2004.
                      (h)   All persons considered for Belonger or Permanent Resident status
                            should be interviewed. The main purpose of the interview should
                            be to determine the extent of the applicants‟ knowledge of the
                            Turks & Caicos, their proficiency in speaking and reading English,
                            and the extent of their assimilation into the community.
             1.7.2    If the Government considers that the existing law does not allow the
                      granting of Belonger status as recommended, it should consider making a
                      quick interim amendment to the existing legislation. Alternatively, the
                      new legislation should contain transitional provisions to give effect to the
                      above recommendations.
             1.7.3    There should be an amnesty progamme put in place for a limited period
                      to allow those persons currently in the community who are not working
                      legally to come forward and obtain the appropriate work permit.
                      Consideration should be given to making it a part of such a programme
                      that the advertising and other requirements for labour clearances be
                      waived. After the amnesty period, a person found working without a
                      work permit and the employer should be fined heavily and the worker
                      should face deportation.
             1.7.4    The Commission believes the above measures would go a long way to
                      establishing a much more settled work force for the future, and would
                      give the government much better information as to the numbers of
                      foreigners in our country and as to who is doing what.




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     1.8     POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT OF THE TERM “BELONGER”

             Background
             Several people at public meetings expressed a desire to replace the word “Belonger” as
             descriptive of a person who has national status in Turks & Caicos. It was said that the
             word Belonger gives no indication of nationality, and that another word is needed that is
             more connected to Turks & Caicos and which will better reinforce a national identity.
             The Commission considered various proposals, including “Turks & Caicos Islander”,
             “Turks Islander”, “TCI”, “Turcaican”, “Turkasian”, and “Turcainian” but prefers the
             word “Turcaian” (pronounced “Tur-kay-an”), being reflective of both groups of Islands,
             short, and easier to say than the alternatives.

             Recommendations
             1.8.1      The Government should consider undertaking a survey as to the
                        replacement of the word “Belonger” with another word more identifiable
                        with Turks & Caicos. Alternatively, the legislation could use the
                        expression “TCI Status” and leave the matter of national description to
                        the general public. Changing the word “Belonger” in the legislation
                        would require amendment of the Constitution and a general amending
                        ordinance to replace the word “Belonger” and cognate words wherever
                        they appear. All forms and certificates with the word “Belonger” would
                        need to be replaced.
             1.8.2      The various alternative names should be a matter of public discussion,
                        and in particular should be discussed in the schools.




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2.   THE RIGHT TO RESIDE


     2.1     NEW CATEGORIES OF LONG-TERM RESIDENCY

             Background
             Historically, successive administrations have grappled with the dilemma of wanting, on
             the one hand, to give security to those non-Belongers who are identified as valuable to the
             growth of the country, while, on the other hand, being concerned to protect against the
             gradual loss of political control by the indigenous population.
             These competing objectives are actually at the very heart of the immigration problem
             faced by Turks & Caicos. It is perhaps not surprising that both objectives had strong
             support in the public meetings and in private representations, but few suggestions were
             actually made as to how to resolve the conflict between them.
             In the past, governments have proved very reluctant to give grants of permanent
             residence, with applications either being completely ignored or delayed for months and
             even years. Then, usually as election time approaches, grants of Belonger status are
             handed out, in a seemingly inconsistent fashion, when a grant of permanent residence
             would have been quite sufficient.
             The problem perceived with the grant of permanent residence is that it leads to
             entitlement to the status of a British Overseas Territories Citizen, which in turn leads to a
             Turks & Caicos passport. In order to obtain BOTC status, a person must be free from any
             restriction on the length of time that they may reside in Turks & Caicos. That is to say,
             they must be either a Belonger or a Permanent Resident. Once a Permanent Resident has
             a Turks & Caicos passport, they can then, with some justification, argue that they should
             not be denied the rights enjoyed by other holders of the same passport. The fallacy of that
             argument is that the passport is issued by the United Kingdom under the British
             Nationality Act, which takes no account at all of the social, political or demographic
             conditions applying in the overseas territory in respect of which the passport is issued, or
             of the laws which reflect those conditions. Notwithstanding that, some people who have
             obtained the BOTC passport have demanded to be given Belonger status. The
             Commission believes that this has been the reason why past governments have been slow
             to deal with permanent residence applications, and why there has been such a concern
             about people being allowed to remain in the country long enough to acquire the
             qualifications for Permanent Resident status.
             It is clear, having regard to the small indigenous voter base, that altering the demography
             of the political landscape could result in people who are not of Turks & Caicos stock
             determining the outcome of elections and possibly reaching high political office.
             Experience of countries like Fiji shows that when such a situation develops it can lead to
             strong inter-ethnic friction and even major political and social upheaval.
             It is also clear that many people who come to work or retire in Turks & Caicos are quite
             comfortable with not participating in the political process, and merely wish to have
             security in their daily lives. But there will always be some who do become closely



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             involved in and accepted into the fabric of the community, and who are needed to
             contribute to the expansion of the indigenous population.
             In accordance with the prevailing views expressed in submissions made, the Commission
             believes that the country can more adequately address the various objectives by adding to
             the existing forms of immigration status.
             These additional forms of status should provide security for the persons to whom they are
             issued without immediately starting the holder on the path to Belonger status. The
             Commission believes that the solution is to make the acquisition of Belonger status
             dependent on the acquisition of BOTC status. Because BOTC status requires that the
             applicant be free of any restriction on the length of their residence, the proposal is to
             create a form of status that does involve restriction on length of residence but one that
             should not be of practical concern to the holder. The Commission believes that a period
             of 25 years is a suitable period for this purpose. For retirees in the 50 to 65 year age
             group, 25 years would give a right of residence up to an age between 75 and 90. If
             necessary the period could be renewed.

             Recommendation
             2.1.1      There be created two additional forms of immigration status, the Home-
                        Owner‟s Permit and the Business Investor‟s Permit, each of which would
                        be for a period of 25 years and capable of renewal.

     2.2     HOME-OWNER‟S PERMIT

             Background
             The Commission felt strongly that persons who have built holiday homes or retirement
             homes in the Islands should have the right to reside and to move freely in and out of the
             country. Home-Owners using their homes for retirement or holidays have no need of the
             right to work, but do contribute to the economy in many ways. It was felt that such
             privileges of residency should also accrue to spouses and children.

             Recommendations
             2.2.1      A person who has invested the prescribed minimum amount in buying or
                        building a home, and who does not require the right to work, should be
                        entitled, on application to the Director of Immigration and the payment
                        of a prescribed fee, to the grant of a Home-Owner‟s Permit, which would
                        not carry the right to work.
             2.2.2      Where money for the purchase or building of the home was borrowed
                        from a lender in Turks & Caicos, the amount owing should not be
                        counted in determining the amount of the investment. Money paid in
                        reduction of the principal amount of the loan should count, but money
                        paid for interest on the loan should not count.




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             2.2.3    Provision must be made for the case where the home is owned by a
                      company beneficially owned by the investor or a trust of which the
                      investor is the settlor.
             2.2.4    The existing prescribed minimum investment for a home in
                      Providenciales should remain at $500,000, but the minimum investment
                      in the other islands should be increased from $125,000 to $250,000. Also,
                      the regulations need to be altered to make provision for homes in Parrot
                      Cay, Pine Cay, West Caicos, Ambergris Cay and other smaller islands.
                      The increased minimum should not apply to houses purchased or under
                      construction before the date of the increase.
             2.2.5    The Home-Owner‟s Permit should be granted initially for a term of 25
                      years, renewable thereafter for a further period of 25 years.
             2.2.6    The permit should be in the form of a wallet-sized machine-readable
                      plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.
             2.2.7    There should be an annual fee attached to the permit. (See paragraph
                      8.1.8.)
             2.2.8    The spouse (including a de-facto spouse) and children of the holder who
                      are in full-time education or who are handicapped should have their
                      names endorsed on the permit and have the same right of residence
                      without the right to work.
             2.2.9    Adequate provision should be made for spouses and children in the case
                      where the holder dies or becomes incapacitated, where the marriage fails
                      or where the status is revoked. Unless there is a compelling reason why
                      they should be required to leave, the spouse and children who were living
                      with the holder should be allowed to remain in the country to deal with
                      their affairs and to have the opportunity, should they wish, to be
                      considered for a grant of long-term residence in their own right.
             2.2.10   The responsibility for granting a Home-Owner‟s Permit should lie with
                      the Director of Immigration, who would need to be satisfied that the
                      applicant and his family are suitable to be members of the community.
             2.2.11   All applicants should be personally interviewed.
             2.2.12   As in the existing law, there should be provision for an applicant to be
                      “pre-approved” before buying or building the home. The permit would
                      be issued on proof that the required level of investment has been reached
                      and the home has been completed in compliance with the relevant
                      development approval and is fit for occupation.
             2.2.13   The holder of a Home-Owner‟s Permit who has been continuously
                      resident in Turks & Caicos for a period of at least 5 years should be
                      eligible to apply for Permanent Residency status without the right to
                      work. Such an application would be subject to the points system and
                      otherwise judged on the extent to which the holder has become integrated
                      into the community.




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             2.2.14     A Home-Owner‟s Permit should be automatically cancelled if the holder
                        disposes of his home and does not replace it with a home of qualifying
                        value within one year.
             2.2.15     A Home-Owner‟s Permit should be capable of being revoked if the holder
                        is absent from the country for a period of 12 consecutive months, or if he
                        falls within a specified list of circumstances relative to his fitness to
                        continue as an inhabitant of Turks & Caicos. (See paragraph 2.4.15.)
             2.2.16     In the case of a child endorsed on a Home-Owner‟s Permit, the right of
                        residence should be automatically cancelled at the age of 18 or at the
                        completion of tertiary education. However the child would not be
                        precluded from applying for some form of resident status in his own
                        right.

     2.3     BUSINESS INVESTOR‟S PERMIT

             Background
             The Commission considered whether changes should be made to the existing provisions
             in relation to entrepreneurs and investors who come to the Islands for the purpose of
             doing business. It concluded that people who fit the specified criteria should be granted a
             form of residency which would allow them to reside in the Islands for the purpose of
             pursuing their business interests. The Commission strongly believes that a mechanism
             tailored specifically to this category of persons would facilitate business and promote
             economic activity in Turks & Caicos.
             In the thinking of the Commission, persons who would qualify for the grant of the
             Business Investor’s Permit would be those of considerable net worth who have invested
             significantly in a business in the Islands with the potential of employing and training
             Belongers. We envision that this category of permit would carry the right to work within
             that business.
             Provisions similar to those applying to the Home-Owner’s Permit should apply to the
             Business Investor’s Permit .

             Recommendations
             2.3.1      Upon making a verifiable investment of at least $500,000 in a prescribed
                        type of employment-generating business anywhere in Turks & Caicos, a
                        person with the prescribed net worth should be entitled to the grant of a
                        Business Investor‟s Permit giving him or her the right to work in that
                        business.
             2.3.2      Where money for the investment is borrowed from a lender in Turks &
                        Caicos, the amount of the loan should not be counted in determining the
                        amount of the investment. Money paid by the investor in reduction of the
                        principal amount of the loan should count, but money paid for interest on
                        the loan should not count. Reductions of the loan made by the company




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                       should not count, except to the extent that dividends from the profits of
                       the company are used to make the reductions.
             2.3.3     Applications for a Business Investor‟s Permit should be made to the
                       Minister of Finance and be decided on by the Executive Council, which
                       would need to be satisfied that the applicant‟s investment is beneficial to
                       the country and that he and his family are suitable to be members of the
                       community.
             2.3.4     There should be provision for an applicant to be “pre-approved” before
                       making the investment. The permit would be issued on proof of the
                       making of the investment and the commencement of the operation of the
                       business.
             2.3.5     There should be an annual fee attached to the permit equivalent to the
                       highest work permit fee.
             2.3.6     The spouse and children of such a permit holder may have their names
                       endorsed on such a permit, availing them of the right to reside. An
                       endorsee should not have the right to work by virtue of the endorsement,
                       but should not be precluded from applying for a work permit if a
                       Belonger with the necessary qualifications is not available.
             2.3.7     A Business Investor‟s Permit should be automatically cancelled if the
                       holder fails to maintain his investment at the prescribed level or disposes
                       of the investment, or if the business in respect of which the permit was
                       issued ceases to operate or operates illegally.
             2.3.8     Except as provided above, all the recommendations in section 2.2 of this
                       Report should apply to Business Investor‟s Permits.

     2.4     PERMANENT RESIDENCY STATUS

             Background
             Throughout the Commission’s hearings, the view was expressed that persons who have
             lived in the country a long time and who have demonstrated a willingness to become
             assimilated into the community should be able to move onto a path which could
             ultimately lead to Belonger status. The Commissioners share this sentiment.
             Under the existing law, where a Permanent Residency status is granted with the right to
             work, that right is limited to the particular occupation previously covered by the work
             permit. The Commission considered whether that distinction should be maintained. In
             line with the overall intent of elevating Permanent Residency status to a form of
             “economic citizenship”, the Commission believes that all persons granted the right of
             Permanent Residency with the right to work should generally not be restricted as to the
             category of employment in which they choose to engage, but there should be provision
             for excluding some categories in which the applicant has not previously worked.
             In the case of persons born in Turks & Caicos of non-Belonger parents, the Commission,
             as mentioned before, believes that such people should be “fast-tracked” for Permanent



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             Residency and ultimately Belonger status if they have grown up in Turks & Caicos and
             are of good health and character. (See paragraph 1.1.2.)
             In the case of new work permit-holders, the Commission envisages that before such
             persons could become eligible for Permanent Residency status in the future, they would
             first need to have made a case for exemption from the proposed 7-year limit on their
             period of stay in Turks & Caicos. (See paragraph 3.14.1.)
             As in all other cases where a form of status is granted, the Commission considers that
             Permanent Residency status should be capable of revocation in specified circumstances.

             Recommendations
             2.4.1     Decisions on applications for Permanent Residency status should be
                       made by the Citizenship Commission.
             2.4.2     There should be three categories of Permanent Residency status:
                       (a)    Class 1 – carrying the wholly unrestricted right to work.
                       (b)    Class 2 – carrying the right to work for any employer and in any
                              occupation except occupation/s specified by the Citizenship
                              Commission (which should not include any occupation in which the
                              applicant has previously been engaged).
                       (c)    Class 3 – carrying no right to work.
             2.4.3     Except where the legislation entitles an applicant to Class 1 Permanent
                       Residency status, the decision whether to grant Class 1 or Class 2
                       Permanent Residency status should be at the discretion of the Citizenship
                       Commission.
             2.4.4     The Citizenship Commission should have the ability to impose a
                       restriction or condition on Class 2 or Class 3 Permanent Residency status.
                       There should be provision for the holder to apply to the Citizenship
                       Commission to have any restriction or condition removed or amended.
             2.4.5     The following persons, if they are of good health and character, should be
                       eligible to apply to the Citizenship Commission for a grant of Class 1 or
                       Class 2 Permanent Residency status:
                       (a)    A person who has held a work permit and resided in Turks &
                              Caicos for the 9 years immediately preceding the application.
                       (b)    A person who has held a Business Investor‟s Permit or a Business
                              Owner‟s Permit (see section 3.2) and resided continuously in Turks
                              & Caicos for the 5 years immediately preceding the application.
                       (c)    A person born in Turks & Caicos who has lived in Turks & Caicos
                              for the preceding 8 years and one of whose parents was legally and
                              ordinarily resident in Turks & Caicos at the time of the birth.
                       (d)    A person who has legally and ordinarily resided in Turks & Caicos
                              for the 10 years immediately preceding the application.




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             2.4.6    The following persons should be eligible to apply for a grant of a Class 3
                      Permanent Residency status:
                      (a)   A person who has legally and ordinarily resided in Turks & Caicos
                            for the 10 years preceding the application.
                      (b)   A spouse of a Belonger before becoming a Belonger.
             2.4.7    There should be provision for the grant of Class 1 Permanent Residency
                      status to a person under the age of 10 who is stateless or otherwise unable
                      legally or practically to obtain a passport. (See also paragraph 6.5.3.)
             2.4.8    An applicant who is applying on the basis of holding a work permit for 9
                      years should not be required to demonstrate any form of investment as a
                      condition for the grant of his Permanent Residency status, but should
                      establish the intention to remain in the country.
             2.4.9    The spouse (including a de-facto spouse) and children of a holder of
                      Permanent Residency status (if not holders in their own right) should
                      have their names endorsed on the Permanent Residency Certificate,
                      giving them the right to reside. An endorsee should not have the right to
                      work by virtue of the endorsement, but should not be precluded from
                      applying for a work permit if a Belonger with the necessary qualifications
                      is not available.
             2.4.10   Adequate provision should be made for spouses and children in the case
                      where the holder of Permanent Residency status dies or becomes
                      incapacitated, where the marriage fails or where the status is revoked.
                      Unless there is a compelling reason why they should be required to leave,
                      the spouse and children who were living with the holder should be
                      allowed to remain in the country to deal with their affairs and to have the
                      opportunity, should they wish, to be considered for a grant of long-term
                      residence in their own right.
             2.4.11   In considering applications for Permanent Residency status, or for the
                      variation of any restriction, the Citizenship Commission would need to be
                      satisfied that the applicant and his family are suitable to be members of
                      the community. In particular, the Citizenship Commission should take
                      account of the following:
                      (a)   The skills, qualifications, finances, character and health of the
                            applicant.
                      (b)   The need to attract persons possessing admirable characteristics to
                            become a permanent part of the community.
                      (c)   The extent to which the applicant has demonstrated –
                            (i)     his knowledge of Turks & Caicos;
                            (ii)    his contribution to the country; and
                            (iii)   a willingness to be assimilated into the local community.




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                      (d)   His overall suitability measured against the foregoing and by the
                            application of the points system.
             2.4.12   The points system (and any changes thereto) should be contained in
                      regulations under the legislation. There would be a schedule listing
                      various attributes, to each of which a number of points, either positive or
                      negative, is assigned. Such attributes would include age, type of
                      occupation, level of skill, level of income, country of origin, ethnicity,
                      ability to speak and read English, etc.
             2.4.13   All applicants should be personally interviewed.
             2.4.14   A Permanent Residency Certificate should be in the form of a wallet-
                      sized machine-readable plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.
             2.4.15   Permanent Residency status should be capable of being revoked if the
                      holder absents himself from the country for a period of 9 months in any
                      12-month period, or if he falls within a specified list of circumstances
                      relative to his fitness to continue as an inhabitant of Turks & Caicos.
                      Such a list should include the following:
                      (a)   The information given in the application for permanent residency
                            was false in a material particular or concealed a material fact.
                      (b)   The holder –
                            (i)     has been convicted of an offence in Turks & Caicos (other
                                    than a traffic offence not involving death or injury)
                            (ii)    has been convicted of an offence in another country, the
                                    nature of which would, in the opinion of the Citizenship
                                    Commission, make his continued presence in this country
                                    contrary to the public interest
                            (iii)   becomes destitute
                            (iv)    becomes mentally disordered or mentally defective
                            (v)     is medically certified to be suffering from a communicable
                                    disease that makes his presence dangerous to the
                                    community
                            (vi)    is deemed by the Executive Council to be an undesirable
                                    inhabitant of Turks & Caicos.
             2.4.16   In the case of a child endorsed on a Permanent Residency Certificate, the
                      right of residence should be automatically cancelled at the age of 18 or at
                      the completion of tertiary education. However the child should not be
                      precluded from applying for any form of status in his or her own right.




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     2.5     RIGHTS OF NON-BELONGER SPOUSES OF BELONGERS AND THEIR CHILDREN

             Background
             The Commission feels that some changes need to be made in the law to balance the high
             level of concern as to marriages of convenience with the need to avoid unduly penalising
             spouses in a bona fide marriage.
             Consideration was also given to the situation where a non-Belonger spouse ends up in an
             abusive marriage but endures the abuse for fear of deportation.

             Recommendations
             2.5.1     The new legislation should not include the provision in Section 13(1)(b) of
                       the existing Ordinance, which exempts a spouse of a Belonger living
                       together with the Belonger from the requirement to have for a work
                       permit.
             2.5.2     A spouse who is living with a Belonger should be able to apply for a
                       Spouse‟s Permit which should carry the unrestricted right to work to
                       which the requirements as to Belonger preference and labour clearance
                       should not apply.
             2.5.3     The exemption in Section 13(1)(b) of the existing Ordinance should be
                       changed from “a spouse of a Belonger living together with the Belonger”
                       to “a spouse who has a Spouse‟s Permit”.
             2.5.4     The Spouse‟s Permit should be granted for any period up to 7 years and
                       should be renewable.
             2.5.5     The application should be made to the Citizenship Commission.
             2.5.6     The Citizenship Commission would have to be satisfied that:
                       (a)    The marriage is valid and stable, and is not a marriage of
                              convenience, and
                       (b)    The spouse has sufficient financial means to support himself or
                              herself and the dependants (if any) listed in the application.
             2.5.7     During the currency of the Spouse‟s Permit, the employer should pay a
                       fee equivalent to the fee payable on a work permit.
             2.5.8     The permit should be in the form of a wallet-sized machine-readable
                       plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.
             2.5.9     There should be provision for the case where the Belonger spouse dies
                       before the requisite period of living together has passed. If the surviving
                       spouse can show that the marriage was stable at the time of death, he or
                       she and any dependant not already a Belonger should be positively
                       considered for the grant of Belonger status.
             2.5.10    A Spouse‟s Permit should give the right of residence to dependants of the
                       spouse pending their possible acquisition of Belonger status (see



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                       paragraph 1.3.1(c)). There should be provision for the Citizenship
                       Commission, in its discretion, to grant Permanent Residency status with
                       the right to work (Class 1 or Class 2) to a child of the spouse who is over
                       the age of 18 if the child has lived in Turks & Caicos for the 7 years
                       before the application.
             2.5.11    A Spouse‟s Permit should be liable to be revoked if the marriage fails or
                       if other conditions for loss of Permanent Residency status apply.
                       However, if the marriage has failed by reason of the fault of the Belonger
                       spouse, the non-Belonger spouse should have the right and opportunity
                       before the Permit is revoked to make a case for the continuation of the
                       permit or to apply for another form of status.

     2.6     SHORT-TERM RESIDENCY PERMITS

             Background
             The Commission thinks that the procedure for the issue of short-term residency permits
             could be expedited, and that the current maximum term of 3 years should be increased to
             5 years.

             Recommendations
             2.6.1     Ordinary permits should be capable of being issued for up to 5 years.
             2.6.2     It should no longer be necessary to pay the fees for multi-year residence
                       permits all in advance. There should be an annual fee, and the permit
                       should be automatically cancelled if the fee is not paid within a
                       prescribed grace period (perhaps 15 to 30 days) after the anniversary of
                       the date on which the permit was issued.
             2.6.3     Applications should be dealt with by the Director of Immigration, acting
                       in his sole discretion, but with a right of appeal to the Immigration
                       Appeals Tribunal.
             2.6.4     The requirement for a bank reference should be broadened so that a
                       reference from a recognised bank in the applicant‟s home country is
                       acceptable, without the need to produce a reference from a local bank.
             2.6.5     The permit should be in the form of a wallet-sized machine-readable
                       plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.




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3.   THE RIGHT TO WORK


     3.1     THE RIGHT TO WORK AND BELONGER PREFERENCE

             Background
             At present there are only two types of work permit: Self-Employed Persons and
             Employed Persons. The Commission considered extending and reclassifying the types of
             permit available.
             The Commission also considered the extent to which measures for Belonger preference
             ought to apply to the various categories of work permit.

             Recommendations
             3.1.1     There should be a Work Permit Board which would be responsible for the
                       granting of work permits issued in the following categories:
                       (a)   Business Owner‟s Permit (see section 3.2)
                       (b)   Freelancer‟s Permit (see section 3.3)
                       (c)   Business Visitor‟s permit (see section 3.13)
                       (d)   Employee‟s Permit (see sections 3.5 to 3.7)
             3.1.2     The requirements of the law as to advertising and labour clearance
                       should apply only in respect of persons required to have an Employee‟s
                       Permit. However there should be provision for the imposition of
                       conditions or restrictions on other types of work permit, designed to
                       ensure or encourage the training and employment of Belongers.
             3.1.3     The following persons should be exempted from the requirement for an
                       Employee‟s Permit:
                       (a)   A Permanent Resident with the right to work (Class 1 or Class 2).
                       (b)   A government employee or a consultant engaged by the
                             government.
                       (c)   A spouse of a Belonger who holds a Spouse‟s Permit.
                       (d)   A holder of a Business Investor‟s Permit, Business Owner‟s
                             Permit, a Business Visitor‟s Permit or a Freelancer‟s Permit.
                       (e)   A person legally resident in Turks & Caicos who is a director or a
                             secretary of a company registered in Turks & Caicos in respect of
                             the performance of his/her duties as such. (If such a person
                             performs any executive, administrative or operational function,
                             they would require an Employee‟s Permit or Business Owner‟s
                             Permit in that capacity).




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                       (f)    A person who is endorsed on his/her parent‟s work permit as a
                              dependant and who is a full-time student.
                       (g)    Such other categories of persons as the Executive Council may
                              from time to time specify in regulations.

     3.2     BUSINESS OWNER‟S PERMIT

             Background
             The Commission gave careful consideration to the position of persons starting up and
             operating their own business under the Business Licensing Ordinance. It was agreed that
             there is a genuine need to accommodate this category of persons where the Government
             perceives the need to fill the gap in particular business sectors where there is an
             insufficient number of Belongers possessing the expertise or capital to successfully
             launch and operate a business. However, the Commission was alert to the problem of
             marginalisation, where Belongers seem unable to advance to supervisory or managerial
             levels. The Commission believes that the way to combat that problem is by providing
             better business development initiatives and better monitoring of business operations.
             The Commission recognised that the existing term “Self-Employed Persons” does not
             represent the true nature of the type of permit needed for this category.

             Recommendations
             3.2.1     The term “Self-Employed Person‟s Permit” should be replaced by the
                       term „Business Owner‟s Permit‟.
             3.2.2     As with the existing Self-Employed Person category, the rules for
                       Belonger Preference should not apply.
             3.2.3     The permit should be issued for any period up to 7 years, at the discretion
                       of the Work Permit Board.
             3.2.4     The requirements for the grant of a Business Owner‟s Permit would be as
                       follows:
                       (a)    The applicant must show that –
                              (i)     the firm for which he/she intends to work has a Business
                                      Licence
                              (ii)    he/she owns at least 25% of the firm‟s equity capital, and
                              (iii)   he/she is a signatory on the firm‟s bank account.
                       (b)    Accompanying the application there is a Staffing Plan in a
                              prescribed form showing, among other things, the projected
                              manpower needs of the firm for the next 3 to 5 years (as required),
                              details of the intended training programme for Belongers, and
                              details of any scholarship programme for Belongers.




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     3.3     FREELANCER‟S PERMIT

             Background
             There was extensive discussion on the issue of “freelancer” or “blanket” work permits.
             The idea of such a permit came out of concerns expressed by the public and shared by the
             Commission in regard to the treatment of unskilled workers, mainly domestic helpers and
             labourers. There were reports from many members of the public and, most informatively,
             from a group of Haitian pastors residing and working in the islands. Claims were made
             of extortion, sexual harassment and even rape. It was asserted that such abuse was not
             reported because of the control that the person or company named as employer on the
             permit has over the employee. Such workers feel that neither the police nor immigration
             officers would help them, and that they would risk losing their ability to work and be
             deported. There were also complaints of employers taking the work permit fee from the
             employee but failing to make application for the permit or the renewal of the permit in a
             timely fashion or at all. Based on the substantial number of reports all alleging various
             types of injustices suffered by the unskilled worker, the Commission concluded that there
             is a problem that cannot be ignored.
             Other relevant factors relate to the fact that often domestic workers such as housekeepers
             and gardeners are required only for one or two days a week by a particular household.
             Under the existing legislation it is illegal for a worker to work for any employer who is
             not endorsed on the permit. However we all know that it is very common practice for
             people to employ a domestic worker who has work permit showing only one employer. It
             is also an unfortunate practice for certain people to “stand” as the employer for the
             purpose of obtaining the work permit, knowing that they have no or insufficient work for
             the worker. It was alleged that some people make a business out of “standing for”
             unskilled workers, and charging for the service, and that it is usually these people who are
             guilty of not making or renewing the permit in a timely fashion. The Commission
             believes that these practices need to be addressed, and the situation of a worker working
             for multiple employers regularised.
             One suggestion that was supported by many members of the public was to give the
             unskilled worker a permit giving him or her the right to work for any employer.
             The Commission agrees that there is clearly a widespread need for persons who have the
             ability to work for a number of different people. It also took into consideration that if
             such persons are restricted to a single employer who needs them for only a few days a
             week there is the potential for other social problems arising from the worker’s inability to
             earn enough to take care of themselves.
             There was a concern that giving a freelance permit would mean that authorities would
             have difficulty locating the worker if there was no employer as a point of reference. The
             Commission believes that this concern is adequately addressed by the fact that the
             freelance worker would be responsible for renewing their permit every year and for
             making their own National Insurance payments, and by requiring referees upon
             application for and renewal of the permit.




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             The Commission believes that the Freelancer’s Permit scheme should be tried first on
             restricted categories of worker. If it proves successful, the categories could perhaps be
             widened in the future.

             Recommendations
             3.3.1      There should be a Freelancer Work Permit available only to
                        housekeepers, baby-sitters, and gardeners.
             3.3.2      Applicants for such a Freelancer Permit would be required to have at all
                        times two referees at least one of whom must be a Belonger. Such
                        referees would serve solely as a means of contact. It should be a
                        requirement that a person may not be the referee for more than 2
                        freelancers. If a referee were to die or notify the Administrator of the
                        Work Permit Board that he/she no longer wished to be a referee, the
                        permit holder would be required to find a replacement. In each case the
                        referees should be required to present themselves to the Administrator of
                        the Work Permit Board and provide a photograph for identification
                        purposes.
             3.3.3      The Freelancer Permit should be granted for any period up to 5 years,
                        but could be revoked in specified circumstances.
             3.3.4      Technically a freelancer would require a Business Licence. If the
                        Business Licence fee is kept at $150, that should not be a problem.
                        However it may be better administratively to exempt freelancers from the
                        requirement for a Business Licence.
             3.3.5      The Board could in its discretion require as a condition of issue the
                        payment of a deposit which the Board considers adequate to cover or
                        contribute to the cost of possible medical treatment or repatriation in the
                        case of deportation.
             3.3.6      On application and at every anniversary of the grant of the permit (even
                        where the permit has been issued for more than one year) the following
                        would need to be produced to the Administrator:
                        (a)   Payment of the prescribed fee.
                        (b)   Evidence of payment of the Business Licence fee (if required).
                        (c)   A medical certificate.
                        (d)   A satisfactory police record.
                        (e)   A clearance certificate from the National Insurance Board.
                        (f)   A declaration that the freelancer lives in accommodation for which
                              proper sanitary facilities are provided.
             3.3.7      The Freelancer‟s Permit should be restricted to specified islands, so that
                        the holder would be entitled to work only in the island or islands specified
                        in the permit.




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     3.4     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – APPLICATIONS AND RENEWALS

             Background
             The Commission was inundated with complaints concerning the time taken for work
             permit applications to be considered by the Board and for the actual permit to be made
             available for collection. There were many stories of the actual permits not being available
             even by the time it was necessary for the term to be renewed. The evidence was that that
             situation had become the norm.
             There was also concern about the failure of the Immigration Board to give reasons for its
             refusals. The Commission noted that there is no express provision in the existing
             legislation which requires reasons for refusal to be given, but equally there is no provision
             which entitles the Board not to give reasons. The Commission considers that there is
             actually an implied obligation to give reasons, by virtue of the right of appeal given to a
             person whose application is refused. The right of appeal is rendered nugatory if the
             applicant does not know what to appeal against. In a transparent system there is no
             justification for not giving reasons for refusal.
             The Commission was concerned about the numbers of persons who are recruited from
             overseas who arrive in the country before a work permit has been approved.
             A variety of measures that could improve the current system were considered.

             Recommendations
             3.4.1      To relieve the Board of the burden of dealing with countless renewal
                        applications, there should be provision for a work permit to be valid for
                        up to 5 years, with the condition that its continued validity from year to
                        year would depend on the following being received by the Administrator
                        of the Board before the anniversary of its grant (or before the expiry of
                        any prescribed grace period):
                        (a)    Payment of the annual fee.
                        (b)    A clearance certificate from the National Insurance Board.
                        (c)    A declaration by the employer that, to the best of its knowledge,
                               the employee has not been convicted of an offence (other than a
                               traffic offence not involving death or injury) and, in the case of an
                               unskilled worker, the employee lives in accommodation for which
                               adequate sanitation facilities are provided.
             3.4.2      The requirements for maintaining the validity of a multi-year permit
                        should be dealt with expeditiously over the counter by the Board‟s
                        Administrator. If the requirements are not fulfilled within a specified
                        grace period, the code on the holder‟s work permit card would be
                        rendered invalid by the computer system.
             3.4.3      Applicants who have been recruited from overseas should not enter the
                        country until the employer has been notified of the approval of the work
                        permit.



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             3.4.4    Applications for such applicants should contain a medical certificate
                      from their home country. If the permit is approved, it will be conditional
                      upon the employee passing a second medical examination on arrival, and
                      the employer should be promptly notified accordingly. A medical report
                      should confirm that the person has no communicable diseases and is
                      otherwise in good health. (See section 9.4)
             3.4.5    There should be no reason, given the term limits regime recommended in
                      this Report (see section 3.14) for a person to be required to leave the
                      country when it is time to apply for the renewal or re-issue of an
                      Employee‟s Permit.
             3.4.6    If an application for an Employee‟s Permit is in a category that has been
                      designated as restricted in a Ministerial directive, and a special case is
                      made for the grant of the permit, the Board may grant the application
                      after consultation with the Minister.
             3.4.7    The following should be added as requirements for an application for an
                      Employee‟s Permit:
                      (a)   Proof of the employer‟s good standing under the Business
                            Licensing Ordinance.
                      (b)   In the case of an unskilled worker, a declaration by the employer
                            that the employee has secured accommodation in which adequate
                            sanitation facilities are available.
             3.4.8    Any change in the procedure or requirements for the processing of
                      applications should not take effect before there has been full publication
                      and firms have had an adequate opportunity to adjust to the changes.
             3.4.9    The Board‟s Administrator should keep an email address-book of all
                      those who have regular contact with the Department, so that notices of
                      any directive or change in procedure can be quickly and easily circulated.
             3.4.10   A work permit should be in the form of a wallet-sized, machine-readable
                      plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.
             3.4.11   Any refusal of a work permit must be promptly notified in writing to the
                      applicant and contain the reason/s for the refusal.
             3.4.12   Appeals against the refusal of a work permit or the imposition of any
                      condition or restriction on a work permit should be considered by an
                      independent Immigration Appeals Tribunal. (See Part 4 of this Report).
             3.4.13   The provisions of Section 57 of the existing Ordinance, which allow for
                      the Board to exempt applicants from prescribed requirements when there
                      are good reasons for doing so, should be amended so that an application
                      for a waiver is considered as soon as possible by the Board, and the work
                      permit application itself is not considered until a decision on the waiver
                      has been made. Also, where an application is found to be defective in
                      some respect, the Board should have the power to grant the permit




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                        conditionally, i.e. the issue of the permit would be subject to the defect
                        being rectified to the satisfaction of the Board‟s administrator.

     3.5     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – ADVERTISEMENTS

             Background
             The existing law requires as a pre-requisite for the grant of a work permit that the Board
             be satisfied that the employer has made every effort to recruit a Belonger for the position
             and has advertised the position in consecutive issues of a local newspaper. Many
             members of the public expressed concern about a major issue plaguing the job market,
             which is the practice by some employers of placing advertisements designed to
             discourage applications from Belongers.
             There is widespread feeling that many advertisements are not genuine in terms of the
             purpose intended by the law, which is to provide Belongers with the full opportunity to
             learn of the vacancy and to apply for the position. The belief is that advertisements are
             being tailored to fit an individual whom the employer has already identified for the
             position, and specify qualifications and skills that are actually unnecessary for the
             position to be filled. Examples include the specification of 10 years’ managerial
             experience for an assistant manager, and the requirement for fluency in 4 languages for a
             waiter. The Commission heard of several different ploys designed to eliminate or
             discourage applications from Belongers. These include the use of a post office box
             number only as the address, the use of an incorrect box number or address, and the
             production for labour clearance purposes of a copy of an advertisement actually placed by
             someone else.

             Recommendations
             3.5.1      Every advertisement for an employee should meet all the following
                        criteria:
                        (a)    It must appear in at least two consecutive issues of a local
                               newspaper.
                        (b)    It must contain the name of the employer, and sufficient details of
                               the whereabouts of the office to which the application is to be
                               submitted, together with telephone, fax and email contacts.
                        (c)    The position available should be adequately described.
                        (d)    It should contain an invitation to applicants who are Belongers to
                               send copies of their applications to the Labour Office.
             3.5.2      A copy of the advertisement must be sent to the Labour Department
                        simultaneously with the first publication of the vacancy, and the Labour
                        Department would post the advertisement on its website and by such
                        other means as the Commissioner of Labour may decide.




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     3.6     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – LABOUR CLEARANCES

             Background
             The Commission looked at procedures relating to labour clearance and concluded that the
             Labour Department has a much greater role to play.

             Recommendations
             3.6.1     At the time an application is made for a labour clearance, the employer
                       must provide:
                       (a)    Details of the job description and the salary package.
                       (b)    A résumé of the proposed employee‟s background, qualifications
                              and experience.
                       (c)    Details of any application for the position from a Belonger, and a
                              letter explaining why such application was turned down.
             3.6.2     Before issuing a labour clearance the Commissioner of Labour must be
                       satisfied that –
                       (a)    The job has been duly advertised.
                       (b)    The contents of the advertisement match the position actually
                              available.
                       (c)    No Belonger has applied for the position or, if a Belonger has
                              applied, the applicant is not suitable for the position.
                       (d)    The proposed employee is proficient in written and spoken
                              English.
             3.6.3     The Commissioner of Labour should not withhold a labour clearance if
                       the above criteria are satisfied.
             3.6.4     The new legislation should have a provision giving labour officers the
                       ability to visit the employer‟s place of business in order to check that the
                       content of the advertisement matches the position actually available.
                       There should be stiff penalties for failure to cooperate.
             3.6.5     A labour clearance should be capable of revocation at any time before the
                       Work Permit Board approves the permit.
             3.6.6     The new legislation should specifically provide that, unless and until it is
                       revoked, the Labour Clearance must be regarded as conclusive evidence
                       that no Belonger is available to fill the advertised position.
             3.6.7     The Labour Department should periodically furnish the Board with a
                       manpower assessment in the various categories showing an up-to-date
                       inventory and availability of Belongers looking for work.




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             3.6.8      The Labour Department should be given more personnel and other
                        resources if it is to function properly and be able to address the problems
                        currently perceived by the general public.

     3.7     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – ENCOURAGEMENT OF TRAINING

             Background
             There was a high level of public concern about the failure of some expatriate-controlled
             businesses to employ or properly train Belongers.
             The Commission believes that businesses must be required to accept a measure of
             responsibility for the training of Belongers so that they may obtain the qualifications and
             experience needed to rise to the top levels in their chosen career and, should they choose,
             to establish their own businesses.
             On the other hand, not all firms have the capacity or ability to undertake training.
             Because a person is skilled in a particular field does not mean that he or she is either
             competent or qualified to train. Moreover, if the business is still small it may simply not
             have the human or financial resources to provide training.
             The Commission considers that the general policy of the Government should be the
             encouragement and expansion of existing business, whether controlled by Belongers or
             by expatriates. The Government should not adopt policies which cause loss to existing
             businesses and prevent them from expanding.
             As a firm expands and become more prosperous, the more Belongers it will employ, the
             more it is able to train, and the more money it has available for scholarships. The more
             local businesses are encouraged and protected and allowed to grow, the more money stays
             in the community and the better the local economy is served.
             Although there is clear evidence that a number of expatriate-controlled firms discriminate
             in their employment practices, the Commission hopes that most employers are not
             discriminatory and, given the choice between equally qualified and experienced Belonger
             and foreign applicants, will choose the Belonger. Discrimination aside, there is no reason
             why that should not be the case. The Commission notes with approval that long overdue
             measures specifically prohibiting discrimination are included in the Employment Bill now
             before the Legislative Council.
             In relation to work permit applications, the Commission considers that the overriding
             principle should be whether a Belonger with the required qualifications and experience is
             available to fill the required position.
             The Commission believes that the long-term interests of Belongers and the country
             generally should be achieved more by the careful control of business licences than by the
             prohibition of work permits. If too many expatriate-controlled firms are allowed to
             become established in a particular sector, the opportunity for Belongers to establish their
             own businesses in the future is jeopardised.
             The Commission is aware of a directive given by the Minister to the Immigration Board
             by which it was directed not to issue work permits in several categories of occupation.



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             The Commission understands the rationale for such a directive, and considers that there
             may be cases when a blanket prohibition as to a specified category of work is justified.
             However the Commission is concerned that a blanket prohibition can be harmful to
             existing businesses and can operate to the substantial detriment of both the short-term and
             long-term interests of Belongers. This is especially so when such directions are not made
             public and are issued without consultation with the business sector concerned.
             If a firm needs and can afford an employee who has special knowledge and experience,
             and if a Belonger is not available for the position, there should be no reason to prevent the
             firm recruiting from overseas, especially if it is owned wholly or partly by a Belonger. It
             is those employees who will be able to impart their knowledge and experience to those
             more junior. Businesses should be encouraged to bring in such people, not only for the
             benefit they bring to up-and-coming Belongers but also because they help in raising the
             international reputation of Turks & Caicos as a place to do business.
             The Commission sees no reason to force a business, particularly one that has a track
             record of employing and training Belongers, to go without a needed employee when there
             is clearly no Belonger available to fill the position. Where it is considered that a firm is
             not doing enough to employ and train Belongers (even though none may have applied),
             the Board, in addition to considering the withholding of its approval of work permits for
             that firm, should also look at other ways to address the problem that do not have the effect
             of causing immediate hardship to the firm by preventing it from having the personnel it
             needs to carry on its business.

             Recommendations
             3.7.1      More use should be made of the conditions attached to work permits with
                        regard to training, in specified categories. However, a firm should not
                        necessarily be required to lose the expatriate at the end of the training,
                        provided (i) the Belonger is trained to an equal or higher position than
                        the expatriate, (ii) the firm can continue to employ them both, and (iii)
                        either no other Belonger is available or another Belonger is brought in for
                        training.
             3.7.2      The fee structure for work permits should be revised so that, in specified
                        categories, firms that are unwilling or unable to train a Belonger for the
                        level of responsibility for which a work permit is required should pay an
                        additional fee on top of the work permit fee, and the additional fee should
                        be paid into the Government‟s scholarship fund.
             3.7.3      The Labour Department should be better resourced so that it is able to
                        more fully investigate the actual requirements of a firm that is applying
                        for a work permit, and to follow up on compliance with any conditions
                        attached to a work permit as to the training of Belongers.
             3.7.4      A scheme should be introduced whereby firms, either in specified
                        categories or on a case by case basis, would be required to outline a
                        Staffing Plan covering a 3 to 5 year period (as required) showing details
                        of (a) the employees, both local and expatriate, whom the firm expects to
                        employ, (b) promotion policy, and (c) programmes as to training,



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                        encouragement and financial assistance. The Board should be required
                        to have regard to the Staffing Plan when deciding on how many work
                        permits the firm concerned should be allowed to have. It is expected that
                        there would be linkage between the number of Belongers employed and
                        the number of work permits granted.
             3.7.5      Where the Government considers it necessary to freeze the issue of work
                        permits in certain categories, the directive should not be in terms of an
                        absolute prohibition, but should refer to a “restricted” category, leaving it
                        open for the Board, in consultation with the Minister, to grant permits in
                        that category in cases where undue damage to the employer‟s business
                        would otherwise result. In such cases, firms owned or part-owned by
                        Belongers should be given special consideration.
             3.7.6      Before issuing a directive to the Work Permit Board specifying a
                        restricted category, the Minister should first –
                        (a)    Consult with the relevant business sector, including its
                               representative body where one exists.
                        (b)    Issue the directive in good time before its intended application, to
                               give businesses adequate time to plan accordingly.
                        (c)    Be satisfied that there are sufficient Belongers available presently
                               or in the short term to meet the demands of the business sector
                               concerned.
             3.7.7      Where Belongers are seen to have little interest in particular occupations,
                        the Government should work with the sector concerned to establish
                        publicity campaigns, seminars and training programmes.
             3.7.8      Attention should be strongly focused on the issue of Business Licences. It
                        is understood that the Government is looking at broadening the restricted
                        categories, but particular attention needs to be given to the practice of
                        “fronting”. In considering an application for a licence in which a
                        Belonger is shown to be only a part-owner of the business (whether as to
                        51% or otherwise), the Business Licence Committee should be required to
                        satisfy itself that the Belonger will be actively engaged on a full-time basis
                        in the operation of the business. Among other things, the Committee
                        should also have the power to ascertain the signatory rights in relation to
                        the firm‟s bank account/s.

     3.8     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – STAFFING PLANS

             Background
             A number of people recommended to the Commission the introduction of a scheme
             which, as the Commission discovered, is similar to that already in use in other
             jurisdictions. The idea is that employers are given the opportunity to file a Staffing Plan
             detailing the number of employees presently employed, the positions taken by each
             employee, the immigration status of each employee, the length of time that the employer



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             considers each position will last, the prospects for “Belongerising” positions currently
             held by work permit holders, and the prospects for new positions coming into the firm
             over the next 3 to 5 years.
             Once approved by the Work Permit Board, work permits would be related more to the
             positions rather than the individuals occupying the positions. So, where a position has
             been approved for a work permit for, say, 5 years, then applications for persons filling that
             position during the 5 years would be “fast-tracked”.
             The intent of the system is to substantially reduce the workload of the Board, and to
             provide the Board with much better information on which to shape policy and to monitor
             the employment practices of employers. Such a system would not operate to the
             detriment of Belongers, since they would remain entitled to preference where their
             qualifications are equal to the position.

             Recommendations
             3.8.1      A Staffing Plan system should be introduced by regulations, which would
                        include the form and requirements of the Plan.
             3.8.2      The filing of the plan should be voluntary for smaller firms, but should
                        be compulsory for companies with at least, say, 25 employees.
             3.8.3      The scheme should not involve a “rubber stamp” operation. If a suitably
                        qualified Belonger were to come forward for an “approved” position, he
                        or she should still have the opportunity to occupy that position.

     3.9     EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – CHANGE OF EMPLOYMENT

             Background
             The Commission heard concerns about the situation that can arise when an employee who
             has been recruited from overseas wishes to work for someone other than the employer
             who recruited him/her. It was concerned that there may be cases where work permits are
             granted to such persons without the Board taking the precaution of obtaining a reference
             from the former employer.

             Recommendations
             3.9.1      Where an application is in respect of an employee who has previously
                        worked for a different employer, it should be required to contain the
                        name and contact details of all previous employers and of the position/s
                        held. The application form would need to be changed accordingly.
             3.9.2      It should be required that applications be accompanied by (i) a consent
                        on the part of the previous employer or (ii) an indication that the
                        employer has refused to give consent.
             3.9.3      Upon receipt of such an application the previous employer should be
                        notified and be given the opportunity to make written submissions to the
                        Board.



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             3.9.4     Where the Board considered it to be appropriate, it could invite oral
                       submissions by or on behalf of the applicant and by the previous
                       employer. In such a case, both should be heard at the same time.

     3.10    EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES

             Background
             It was brought to the Commission’s attention that in cases where an applicant is a
             professional person, the input of the relevant professional body might be valuable. The
             Commission considers that such input would be useful for the Board to have when
             considering applications of this nature.

             Recommendations
             3.10.1    Where an applicant is a professional person, the Board should be
                       required –
                       (a)    to seek and have regard to the comments of the relevant governing
                              body (to be specified in the legislation) in relation to (i) the
                              opportunities available to and the training of Belongers in the
                              profession, and (ii) the qualifications and skill requirements for the
                              position concerned
                       (b)    not, except in exceptional circumstances, to grant a work permit to
                              a professional person wishing to enter into self-employment
                       (c)    not to grant a work permit to a professional employee unless –
                              (i)    the relevant governing body has satisfied the Board that
                                     the applicant is eligible to be granted the right under any
                                     law governing the profession to work as a practitioner in
                                     Turks & Caicos; and
                              (ii)   the employee is legally and ordinarily resident in Turks &
                                     Caicos or intends to be so resident.
             3.10.2    There should be a requirement that immediately on the receipt of any
                       work permit application for a professional person, a copy of the
                       applicant‟s résumé be sent to the governing body.

     3.11    EMPLOYEE‟S PERMITS – PERSONS ALREADY RESIDENT

             Background
             In the past, there has been an apparent unwritten policy that work permits should not be
             granted to a spouse of a work permit-holder who has previously resided without a work
             permit. Similarly there has also been a policy that a person here on a residence permit
             should not be considered for a work permit if that person should later become interested
             in working.




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             The rationale for the policy is not clear. In other countries, employers are actually
             encouraged to employ such people. There are several sensible reasons for this. Once it is
             established that a Belonger is not available for the position, it is much better that the
             person filling the position be someone who is already here, rather than someone from
             overseas who will simply add to the expatriate population. The person who is already
             here is already familiar with and may be participating in the community, and is more
             likely to keep their money in the country as part of the family coffers. By allowing two-
             income families, we can attract more people like teachers who ordinarily would find it
             difficult to live here at current salary levels and who can earn much more in other
             international destinations such as the Middle East. Married couples are more able to
             contribute to the economy and build a house when they have two incomes.
             As a matter of economy, convenience, and local knowledge, employers much prefer to
             recruit someone who is already in the country than to have to recruit overseas.
             For similar reasons, other countries also allow tourists visiting on a visitor’s permit to be
             eligible for work permits if it happens that they are able to find a job while they are in the
             country.
             The overriding principle – that a work permit can be granted only if a Belonger is not
             available for the position – is unaffected by such policies.

             Recommendation
             3.11.1     There should be no policy that prevents a person who is in the country
                        legally from applying for any advertised position, subject to the Minister
                        being able to prescribe categories of work which visitors may not apply
                        for.

     3.12    TEMPORARY AND EMERGENCY WORK PERMITS

             Background
             The Commission considers that the current provisions of the law relating to temporary
             work permits issued by the Director of Immigration in cases of emergency or short-term
             employment are insufficient.

             Recommendations
             3.12.1     There should be a distinction made between a temporary work permit
                        and an emergency permit, and different provisions should apply to each.
                        A temporary permit would be for the case where the applicant will be in
                        the country only for a short period of time. An emergency work permit
                        would be for the case where a firm is in urgent need of a person with
                        particular skills for a longer period and will suffer undue hardship from
                        the delay inherent in the normal application procedure.
             3.12.2     Where he is satisfied that a firm needs the services of a person whose
                        skills are not immediately available within the country for a short period,
                        the Director of Immigration should have the power, after consultation



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                        with the Commissioner of Labour, to issue a temporary work permit for
                        the period requested, up to a maximum of 14 days, which could be
                        extended where the intended work has taken longer than expected. The
                        holder of such a permit would not be eligible to apply for a full work
                        permit.
             3.12.3     Where he is satisfied that a firm, by reason of the sudden death or
                        departure of an employee, a sudden increase in business, a sudden
                        demand for particular skills, or some other exigency, has need of the
                        services of a person with particular skills that cannot be provided
                        immediately by a Belonger, the Director of Immigration should have the
                        power, after consultation with the Commissioner of Labour, to issue an
                        emergency work permit for such period as is reasonable to allow the firm
                        sufficient time to advertise the position and recruit a Belonger or, if
                        necessary, to apply for a work permit.

     3.13    BUSINESS VISITOR‟S PERMIT

             Background
             The Commission recognises that there are firms with business in Turks & Caicos which
             have offices or affiliates in other countries, and that people associated with those firms
             often make short business trips to Turks & Caicos during the year. The Commission
             believes there should be a form of permit facilitating this type of visitor.

             Recommendations.
             3.13.1     For firms holding a valid business licence which receive regular visits
                        from persons resident elsewhere who are employed by the firm or an
                        associated firm there should be available a Business Visitor‟s Permit
                        giving the holder the right to enter the country for any number of visits of
                        up to 14 days.
             3.13.2     Such permits would be granted by the Director of Immigration, subject
                        to any conditions or restrictions that he thinks appropriate. He could
                        agree a long-term plan with the firm concerned.
             3.13.3     An application in a prescribed form would specify the name of the visitor,
                        the maximum number of trips, and the maximum length of each stay.
             3.13.4     The Permit should be in the form of a wallet-sized machine-readable
                        plastic card bearing a picture of the holder.

     3.14    TERM LIMITS

             Background
             The Commission grappled with the problem of how to change the existing immigration
             regime so that not every person who resides in Turks & Caicos on a work permit acquires



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             the right over time to be given Permanent Residency or Belonger status, while fulfilling
             the need for the regime to be as transparent and as fair as possible.
             It seemed to the Commission that the best solution is that adopted in the Cayman Islands,
             where an equivalent to the Commission has spent more than two years reviewing the
             immigration system and working on a new piece of legislation, which came into force on
             1 January 2004.
             In Cayman, the concept of term limits has been introduced whereby a person’s tenure as a
             work permit holder will generally be limited to 7 years. However there is provision, in
             special cases, for extending the period to 9 years, making the holder eligible to apply for
             Permanent Residency status (Class A or Class B). The Commission considers that a
             similar system should work in Turks & Caicos. The advantage of the system is that it
             would allow people looking at taking up employment in Turks & Caicos to know in
             advance the likely period of residence and the process involved in becoming a long-term
             resident and acquiring additional rights.

             Recommendations
             3.14.1     In general, the period of a residence of a work permit holder should not
                        exceed 7 years, and a new permit should not be granted until the holder
                        has spent 2 years outside Turks & Caicos.
             3.14.2     There should be provision for the extension of the term to 9 years where
                        it can be established that there is good reason for allowing the employee
                        to remain and become eligible for permanent residence.
             3.14.3     The application for extension would be considered by the Citizenship
                        Commission, which would be required to be satisfied that the employee
                        fulfills one or more of the following requirements:
                        (a)    He/she is recognised as having special expertise in his/her field of
                               practice, trade or employment.
                        (b)    He/she will be directly involved in training Belongers in the field in
                               which he/she is employed and his/her expertise is important to the
                               effective continuation of the training.
                        (c)    He/she is an employee whose expertise or skills are not available in
                               adequate measure locally, and it is of economic and social benefit
                               to the business or the country to have persons with such skills.
                        (d)    His/her absence from Turks & Caicos will be detrimental or cause
                               serious hardship to the employer, to Belongers or to the country.
                        (e)    His/her business contacts are or will be of importance to the
                               continued success of the business or its contribution to the country.
                        (f)    There exist other economic or social benefits to the country by
                               virtue of securing or retaining his/her specialist skills or expertise.
                        (g)    The circumstances of his/her particular case are exceptional and
                               justify a special reason for him/her to remain in the country.




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             3.14.4     There should be transitional provisions for current work permit holders
                        who have already lived in Turks & Caicos for more than 5 years. Current
                        work permit holders would fall into 4 categories, and would be given
                        opportunity to become eligible for Permanent Residency. Different
                        considerations would apply to each category. The categories would be
                        according to the aggregate time a person would have held work permits
                        as at the commencement of the new legislation, including the term of the
                        then current work permit, as follows: (a) between 5 and 6 years; (b)
                        between 6 and 7 years; (c) between 7 and 8 years, and (d) more than 8
                        years.

     3.15    MEASURES TO RELIEVE STRAIN ON SOCIAL SERVICES AND CULTURE

             Background
             Both in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, a robust approach has been taken to the
             problem of the strain placed on schools, medical facilities and other social services by
             impecunious immigrants. The policy is that no expatriate child may attend government
             schools, and if a person cannot afford to send his or her children to a private school or
             meet the cost of medical emergencies, the children are not permitted to enter the country,
             and children born in the country are not permitted to remain. While this may seem harsh,
             it is the choice of the intending immigrant to accept the conditions or not. If they choose
             to come to work for a limited period without their family, make some money, and return
             home, that is a choice which they are free to make with a clear understanding of the
             options. Besides, the policy does not preclude single people from coming into the
             country to fill jobs which few nationals are interested in.
             Because of the already large proportion of the current population in Turks & Caicos
             which is represented by expatriate unskilled workers, and complaints of the detrimental
             effect on Belonger children of non-English-speaking children in schools and long queues
             in government clinics, the Commission is forced to the conclusion that it is time to
             implement a similar policy in this country.
             Based on representations made and on recent statistics, the Commission considers that
             there is a sufficient number of unskilled workers already in Turks & Caicos to meet the
             demand, at least in the short term.
             The Commission is also cognisant of the significant problem of illegal immigration by
             boat from Haiti. Reports of the current instability in Haiti suggest that this problem could
             well increase significantly in the coming months. There is some chance that if it becomes
             known in Haiti that there is no chance of obtaining a work permit in Turks & Caicos,
             some people may think twice before paying the price and facing the danger involved in
             making a boat trip to this country under cover of darkness.

             Recommendations
             3.15.1     There should be a moratorium at least until 31 March 2005 on the grant
                        of any work permit to any unskilled worker from Haiti who has not
                        previously held a work permit.



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             3.15.2      Where a new work permit is issued to any new immigrant arriving after
                         31 May 2004 who is a person whose expected income is deemed to be
                         insufficient to meet the cost of private education and other living
                         expenses of their dependants, the permit shall have attached the
                         restriction that the holder‟s spouse and dependants shall not enter Turks
                         & Caicos.
             3.15.3      If a person with a work permit having such a restriction attached has a
                         child born in Turks & Caicos who is not a Belonger, that child must be
                         repatriated as soon as possible to the mother‟s country of origin, even if
                         that requires the holder also to leave the country.
             3.15.4      If any new immigrant arriving after 31 May 2004 brings dependants,
                         they will not be permitted to attend any Government school unless no
                         space is available in any private school; and in that case there should be a
                         fee payable to the Government for each student attending a government
                         school. Such a fee should be relative to the fees payable in private schools.
             3.15.5      The above policies should be well-advertised in Turks & Caicos and in
                         Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

     3.16    WORKING WITHOUT A PERMIT

             Background
             Another area where common practice does not coincide with the law is the case of
             persons carrying on work when technically they do not have a permit to do so. This arises
             in two main areas:
             (a)      Where the term of a work permit expires before the Board has processed the
                      application for renewal.
             (b)      Where an application for a new permit has been refused and there is an appeal
                      pending.
             The Commission feels that the law needs to contain specific provisions addressing these
             situations.

             Recommendations
             3.16.1      There should be a requirement that applications for the renewal of work
                         permits be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry of the term.
             3.16.2      A system of penalties should be put in place for late renewal applications.
             3.16.3      The law should contain exemption from liability for working beyond the
                         term of a work permit in the case where the renewal of the work permit
                         has not been processed in a timely fashion.
             3.16.4      The general position should be that in the case of an appeal against the
                         refusal of a first-time application for a work permit, the appellant should
                         be prohibited from working pending the outcome of the appeal.




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             3.16.5     However, in the case where the appellant is already resident, there should
                        be a specific provision in the legislation giving the Director of
                        Immigration the power to authorise the appellant to work pending the
                        appeal if he is satisfied that special reasons exist to justify the exercise of
                        his power, such as specific hardship being suffered by the firm which
                        made the application.

     3.17    THE WORK PERMIT BOARD

             Background
             There were several complaints from the public that often in the past the members of the
             Immigration Board have been insufficiently qualified to serve as such, or have been
             appointed as a reward for party loyalty or for other political reasons. The general public
             perception is that this situation results in work permits often being refused for improper
             reasons. There were also complaints that decisions were often made based on the personal
             gripes and jealousies of Board members or their associates.
             There was also general public dissatisfaction with the current system, where the Board is
             an adjunct to the Immigration Department and its administrative functions, file-keeping
             and record-keeping are carried out by junior immigration officers who are from time to
             time assigned to those duties.
             The Commission deliberated at length as to how these matters should be addressed.

             Recommendations
             3.17.1     There should be a new form of Board, to be called the Work Permit Board
                        (i.e. not “Immigration Board”), which should operate separately from the
                        Immigration Department and be separately resourced with funds and
                        staff. It should have a full-time Administrator and a secretary to keep a
                        record of the decisions at meetings of the Board.
             3.17.2     The Board should have 9 members, all Belongers, appointed by the
                        Executive Council, as follows:
                        (a)   Three public officers, preferably being –
                              (i)     The Director of Immigration
                              (ii)    The Commissioner of Labour
                              (iii)   A representative from the Business Licensing department.
                        (b)   Six other members representing a broad cross-section of the
                              community, preferably with a majority of senior businesspeople
                              and professionals.
             3.17.3     The Board should have no power to make policy, but should be consulted
                        by the Minister in the formulation or modification of any policy.




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             3.17.4    There should be a close relationship between the Work Permit Board and
                       the Business Licensing Committee, especially involving work permits for
                       positions in restricted categories.
             3.17.5    There should be a requirement that the Board give effect to any
                       agreement between an employer and the Government with regard to a
                       quota of non-Belonger employees, subject to the employee in each case
                       complying with the requirements as to health and good character.
             3.17.6    The Board should meet at least once per week.
             3.17.7    It should be a legal requirement that the Board process a work permit
                       application expeditiously and strive to ensure that a response to an
                       application be given within 30 days of being submitted.
             3.17.8    Any change in the procedure or requirements for the processing of
                       applications should not take effect before there has been full publication
                       and firms have had an opportunity to adjust to the changes.
             3.17.9    The Board‟s Administrator should keep an email address-book of all
                       those who have regular contact with the Department, so that notices of
                       any directive or change in procedure can be quickly and easily circulated.
             3.17.10   It should be a requirement that where a member of the Board has a
                       personal or pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any matter to be
                       determined by the Board, he/she would be obliged, if present at the
                       meeting at which the matter is to be determined, to immediately disclose
                       the fact and leave the meeting.
             3.17.11   The provisions of Section 54 of the existing Ordinance, which requires the
                       Board to consult with government departments, should also say the
                       following: “Every government department and every statutory body
                       shall, to the greatest extent possible, furnish such information and
                       statistics and provide such assistance as the Board may from time to time
                       request.”.

     3.18    ROLE OF THE MINISTER OF IMMIGRATION

             Background
             Taking account of suggestions made to the Commission, it considered the role of the
             Minister of Immigration in relation to the matter of work permits.

             Recommendations
             3.18.1    The Minister should continue to have the power to issue policy directives
                       to the Work Permit Board, but it should be a requirement that all such
                       directives be published in the Gazette.
             3.18.2    Unless conditions of emergency exist, a directive issued by the Minister
                       should be published well in advance of the date when it is to take effect.




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             3.18.3   As a general principle, a directive that is likely to affect one or more
                      business sectors should not be published before the Minister has
                      consulted those sectors and given them an opportunity to make
                      submissions.
             3.18.4   The Minister should not have the power to give a directive to the Board in
                      respect of any specific application.
             3.18.5   The Minister should have the power to revoke the appointment of any
                      member of the Board.
             3.18.6   The Minister should no longer be responsible for appeals from decisions
                      of the Board. A separate Immigration Appeals Tribunal should be
                      established. (See Part 4 of this Report).
             3.18.7   There should be a legal requirement for the publication of an annual
                      report as to the functioning of the work permit system and giving
                      statistics concerning work permits issued, permits not renewed, etc.
             3.18.8   As was the consensus at the 2020 Vision conference held in November
                      2003 sponsored by the Bar Association, the Minister should have his
                      Ministry organise, every 4 to 6 months, a public sector /private sector
                      forum to discuss current immigration issues. Such forums will be
                      beneficial both to government and the private sector, and should help
                      Turks & Caicos “stay on track” as development continues to grow.




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4.   IMMIGRATION APPEALS TRIBUNAL


     4.1     ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TRIBUNAL

             Background
             Under the existing law, the Minister of Immigration is given the job of deciding appeals
             in respect of decisions made by the Immigration Board. As in other aspects of the work
             permit procedure, the prevalent public opinion was that decisions on the issue of work
             permits should be as free as possible from political pressures and influence.
             There was wide support for an independent body to be responsible for deciding all
             appeals from the Work Permit Board and other immigration decisions. The Commission
             thinks that there should be such a body, and gave much consideration to the composition
             and workings of an appeals tribunal.

             Recommendations
             4.1.1     Appeals from decisions made by the Work Permit Board, the Director of
                       Immigration or any immigration officer should be heard by an
                       Immigration Appeals Tribunal, which would be comprised of at least 5
                       members who should be appointed by and hold office at the pleasure of
                       the Executive Council.
             4.1.2     There should be a Chairman and Deputy Chairman appointed by the
                       Executive Council, both of who should be lawyers who are Belongers and
                       who have practised in Turks & Caicos for at least 5 years.
             4.1.3     There should be a secretary to the Tribunal to keep minutes of and record
                       its meetings, proceedings and decisions.

     4.2     APPEAL PROCEDURE

             4.2.1     Appeals should be by notice in writing addressed to the secretary to the
                       Tribunal and setting out –
                       (a)    The decision against which the appeal is made
                       (b)    The reasons for the decision
                       (c)    The grounds of the appeal
                       (d)    An indication as to whether or not the appellant wishes to appear
                              before the Tribunal, either personally or by a representative
             4.2.2     The notice of appeal should be accompanied by a copy of the original
                       application and the prescribed non-refundable processing fee.
             4.2.3     On receipt of the notice of appeal, the secretary to the Tribunal should
                       notify the Work Permit Board, the Director of Immigration or the
                       immigration officer, as the case may be, of the decision appealed against


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                      and the grounds of appeal, and sufficient time should be given for a
                      written defence to the appeal to be filed.
             4.2.4    It should be a requirement that if the Tribunal refuses an appeal against
                      the refusal of a work permit, it should grant the unsuccessful appellant
                      no less than 14 days and no more than 90 days to remain in the country
                      to wind up his/her affairs.
             4.2.5    It should be a requirement that where a member of the Tribunal has a
                      personal or pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any matter to be
                      determined by the Tribunal, he/she would be obliged, if present at the
                      meeting at which the matter is to be determined, to immediately disclose
                      the fact and leave the meeting.
             4.2.6    A decision of the tribunal should be capable of being appealed to the
                      Supreme Court on a point of law only.




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5.   CONTROL OF ENTRY


     5.1     EXEMPTION FROM RESTRICTION ON ENTRY

             Background
             The existing law provides that, apart from government employees, only two categories of
             people are exempt from the need for the permission of an immigration officer to enter the
             country: (i) Belongers who are also British Overseas Territories Citizens by connection
             with Turks & Caicos, and (ii) Permanent Residents.
             Up to 1997, there was no requirement for BOTC status. That requirement was introduced
             following an outbreak of serious criminal activity (most notably the armed robbery at the
             Bank of Nova Scotia and the burglary of the safe at Barclays Bank) by Bahamians with
             Belonger status by decent through their parents. It was feared that residents of the
             Bahamas or United States, who had inherited Belonger status and were criminals
             escaping justice or released from prison there, would make Turks & Caicos their home
             and change forever our reputation as a low-crime non-violent nation. By adding the
             requirement for British Overseas Territory Citizenship (not available to US citizens and
             no longer available in the Bahamas), the legislature gave to the immigration department
             the ability to prevent such undesirables from entering or remaining in the country.
             The Commission considered whether the BOTC requirement ought to be kept, and
             overwhelmingly concluded that, given the level and sophistication of criminal activity in
             the Bahamas and among the Bahamian-Belonger segment of our population, the benefit
             of the current provision far out-weighs the potential harm to society and the tourist
             industry that could result from a return to the pre-1997 law.
             Issues in relation to restrictions on Belonger passport-holders passing through ports of
             entry and departure were also considered.
             One such issue is that of the stamping of passports held by Belongers on arrival and
             departure from the country. It is understood that the reason given for the introduction of
             the regime and for retaining it is that it helps US authorities in detecting Turks & Caicos
             passport-holders who have overstayed their permitted time and that it might be helpful to
             passport-holders who need to prove the date on which they returned to or left Turks &
             Caicos. Overwhelmingly however, it was felt that holders of Turks & Caicos passports
             should not be forced to have them stamped and should not be required to present them for
             inspection unless the holder is unknown to the immigration officer on duty. It is
             understood that many of the industrial nations (the USA and the UK in particular) do not
             stamp the passports of their citizens entering or leaving their country.
             Another point at issue was whether Belongers should be required to hand in arrival and
             departure cards. Currently all Belongers are exempted from the requirement. However if
             the Commission’s recommendations as to the prompt installation of a fully functional
             computer system are adopted, the government will have the opportunity to capture travel
             information that would in turn generate statistics important to the formulation of
             immigration and population policy. Some countries like New Zealand, which has a



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             relatively small but mobile population, require all citizens to complete arrival and
             departure cards detailing expected lengths of presence in and absences from the country.
             Other than pointing out these matters, the Commission makes no recommendation as to
             whether arrival and departure cards should be compulsory for Belongers and leaves the
             decision on that to the Government.
             The Commission considered the provisions of Section 9 of the existing Ordinance, which
             contains further categories of persons exempted from the need to have leave to enter
             (such as government employees and diplomats), and is of the view that it has the potential
             to become too onerous to police and does not give the government of the day sufficient
             flexibility.

             Recommendations
             5.1.1      The current provision permitting unrestricted entry only to persons who
                        are both Belongers and BOTCs by connection with Turks & Caicos and to
                        Permanent Residents should be retained.
             5.1.2      Belongers and Permanent Residents should be provided with a separate
                        queue at ports of entry, and should be able to prove identification or
                        status, if required, by means other than a passport.
             5.1.3      Belongers and Permanent Residents should not be required to have their
                        passports stamped upon entry or departure from the country but should
                        be entitled have them stamped on request.
             5.1.4      Section 9 in the existing Ordinance should be replaced with a provision
                        that authorises the list of exempted categories to be changed by
                        regulation and to include a general provision enabling the Executive
                        Council from time to time by notice in the Gazette to specify certain
                        persons or classes of persons as exempt from the need for permission to
                        enter.

     5.2     REFUSAL OF ENTRY

             Background
             The Commission considered the practice concerning denial of entry by immigration
             officers, and the rights of persons who are denied entry.

             Recommendations
             5.2.1      A person who upon arrival is refused leave to enter by an immigration
                        officer should be entitled to have the decision reviewed by the supervising
                        officer on duty at the port of entry.
             5.2.2      If an initial refusal of entry is not overturned, the person concerned
                        should be required to leave the country, but be entitled to make a further
                        appeal to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal from abroad. The appellant
                        should state the merits of the appeal in writing but should not have any
                        entitlement to appear or be represented at the Tribunal‟s deliberation on



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                        the matter; that is to say, such an appeal would be a “paper appeal” only.
                        The Tribunal should give its decision in writing both to the appellant and
                        the Director of Immigration.
             5.2.3      The matters which an immigration officer is required to be satisfied
                        about when deciding whether it is appropriate to grant a person
                        permission to enter should remain as in Schedule 3 of the existing
                        Ordinance, but there should be provision for the officer to take account
                        of any family or business connection the person may have in Turks &
                        Caicos.
             5.2.4      The new law should also provide that a holder of a work permit or
                        residence permit should be allowed to enter the country as a matter of
                        course in the absence of an overwhelming and compelling reason to deny
                        entry. Such a person should be given the benefit of the doubt and at the
                        least should be given sufficient time to remain to give him or her the
                        opportunity to address the issues raised.

     5.3     VISAS

             Background
             The Commission heard a number of complaints from the public about alleged corruption
             in the immigration system as it relates to the issue of visas. It was beyond the remit of the
             Commission to investigate such allegations, but it became clear that something other than
             the ordinary is going on. Most allegations were to the effect that certain individuals
             holding themselves out as “immigration consultants” have direct links with government
             employees in the department and the Ministry to the extent that they are able to obtain
             large numbers of visas with little difficulty. This was described as “big business”.
             The Commission was informed that Turks & Caicos employment visas are being sold on
             the streets of the Dominican Republic. It is understood that it is the normal requirement
             for the issue of an employment visa that the applicant must prove a connection to a
             particular employer. If it is true that such visas can be purchased without such a
             connection being shown, it would certainly indicate something is amiss and should be
             investigated.
             Whether there is corruption or not, there is certainly a substantial lack of public
             confidence in the existing system. While government may be benefiting by the revenue
             raised from the issue of visas, there is a clear and present danger that a substantial number
             of immigrants are entering the country with no immediate prospect of work and placing a
             heavy burden on the country’s resources. The Commission understands that the great
             majority (about 98%) of visitors’ and employment visas issued in Turks & Caicos are to
             Haitians and Dominicans. The Commission believes that a large number of these visas
             are being issued to people who are not genuine visitors or, in the case of employment
             visas, have no job in prospect. The Commission was told that the authorities are aware of
             this situation.
             The requirement for a visa is to ensure that persons visiting the country are of good
             character and that the reasons for the visit are genuine. It is possible that the authorities



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             have lost sight of the purpose of visas and are more concerned with the revenue they
             represent.
             There were allegations to the effect that the fee charged by the “immigration consultants”
             is well in excess of the government fee, and it was suggested that if the system were run
             properly the government fee should be increased.

             Recommendations
             5.3.1      The government‟s policy on the issue of visas and changes thereto should
                        be published in the Gazette.
             5.3.2      The form of visa application and the associated requirements should be
                        contained in regulations. The requirements should include:
                        (a)   Two photographs.
                        (b)   Police record.
                        (c)   National passport valid for at least 6 months.
                        (d)   Evidence of accommodation arrangements and of sufficient funds
                              for the visit.
                        (e)   In the case of a person visiting for business purposes, evidence
                              from the party in Turks & Caicos with whom he or she is
                              intending to do business.
                        (f)   In the case of a person intending to take up employment, a letter
                              from the employer and a copy of the labour clearance.
                        (g)   A non-refundable fee.
             5.3.3      The applicant should be interviewed.
             5.3.4      In the case of a person intending to take up employment, proficiency in
                        speaking and reading English language should be established.
             5.3.5      Visas should be granted for up to 90 days.
             5.3.6      All visa applications from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica
                        should be processed outside Turks & Caicos. The Government should
                        send an experienced Belonger responsible for processing Turks & Caicos
                        visas to the British Embassies in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and
                        the British High Commission in Jamaica. The visa fee should be
                        sufficient to offset the cost of the visa officer‟s travel and living expenses.
             5.3.7      The list of countries exempted from visa requirements should be revised,
                        taking account of –
                        (a)   The threat of terrorism.
                        (b)   Political or economic instability in the country of origin.
                        (c)   The level of crime in the country of origin and its proximity to
                              Turks & Caicos.




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             5.3.8      The revision of the list of exempted countries should include the removal
                        of certain Caribbean Commonwealth countries, including Jamaica.
                        However, in the case of countries such as Jamaica, which has educational
                        institutions attended by students from Turks & Caicos, it should be
                        determined whether the imposition of a visa requirement would cause the
                        governments of those countries to make entry more difficult for those
                        students. If necessary, there may have to be different requirements for
                        different countries. In the case of Jamaica, for example, the requirements
                        might be limited to proof of a clean police record and evidence of good
                        character.
             5.3.9      A person who is already in possession of a valid permit should not be
                        required to have a visa to re-enter the country.

     5.4     TRAVEL LETTERS

             Background
             An area of common practice that is not specifically provided for in the existing legislation
             is the request for and issue of the “travel letter”. The travel letter is essentially a
             permission to enter the country given in advance of arrival. It is a confirmation addressed
             “to whom it may concern” given by or on behalf of the Director of Immigration,
             confirming that the person named has been approved to enter Turks & Caicos on a
             particular date.
             The need for such letters arises in two main situations:
             (a)     Where an application for the renewal of a work permit is made in respect of a
                     person who needs to be absent from the country during the time when the
                     application is being processed.
             (b)     Where an application is being been made for the first-time issue of a work
                     permit in respect of a person who is overseas, to enable the person to enter (on
                     a one-way ticket) for the purpose of having a medical examination locally in
                     order to fulfill the requirements for the application.
             The Commission heard about three main concerns regarding the travel letter. First there
             was the suggestion that the letter in its current form is too open to forgery. Secondly it
             was suggested that the travel letter system was being abused by “immigration
             consultants” and their immigration officer counterparts. Thirdly there was concern about
             intending applicants for new work permits being allowed to enter the country before the
             making of the application.
             The Immigration Department has for several years been charging a fee for travel letters,
             and there was complaint about having to pay such fees when the necessity for them was
             the delay in the processing of work permit applications.
             The Commission feels the situation should be regularised.




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             Recommendations
             5.4.1     The new legislation should specifically provide for the issue of travel
                       letters, whether by that name or something else.
             5.4.2     The form of the travel letter needs to be formalised and less open to
                       forgery. It should bear the following:
                       (a)    A photograph of and the signature of the person concerned and
                              their passport number.
                       (b)    A receipt number and/or an immigration reference number.
                       (c)    The identification number of the issuing officer.
             5.4.3     Travel letters should be signed by the Director of Immigration or a senior
                       officer designed by him. No-one in the Ministry should have power to
                       issue a travel letter.
             5.4.4     If a travel letter is required in any case where the processing of an
                       application has been delayed through no fault of the applicant, there
                       should be no fee for the letter.

     5.5     STUDENT VISAS

             Background
             Several people highlighted the absence of a student visa programme in Turks & Caicos.
             The Commission sees no reason not to implement a student visa scheme, especially now
             that the Turks & Caicos Community College and a few private secondary schools are
             operating successfully.

             Recommendations
             5.5.1     There should be implemented a Student Visa scheme for foreign students
                       wishing to study in Turks & Caicos.
             5.5.2     The Director of Immigration should be responsible for the issue of
                       Student Visas, and the applicable regulations should contain provisions to
                       ensure that such students are genuine, are of good health and reputation,
                       have proper accommodation, and are financially able to support
                       themselves and meet the cost of any emergency.




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6.   ENFORCEMENT


     6.1     PERSONS EXEMPT FROM THE STOP LIST AND DEPORTATION

             Background
             Under the current law, the only persons who cannot be refused entry and who are exempt
             from deportation are the following:
             (a)     Persons who have both Belonger status and British Overseas Territories
                     Citizenship by connection with Turks & Caicos
             (b)     Permanent Residents.
             The requirement for BOTC status is to provide the ability to control the presence in Turks
             & Caicos of persons who are citizens of other countries but who happen to have Belonger
             status by descent. The Commission considers that there is no reason to interfere with the
             current provisions.
             There was deliberation as to whether any other categories of person should be exempted,
             and in particular holders of the proposed 25-year Home-Owner’s Permit or Business
             Investor’s Permit . It was agreed that any immigration status that could be revoked
             should not qualify for exemption.

             Recommendation.
             6.1.1      No change should be made to the existing definition of persons who may
                        not be placed on the Stop List or deported.

     6.2     STOP LIST PROCEDURE

             Background
             The Commission considered the current Stop List procedure and was concerned about the
             danger of undesirables “slipping through the net” as a result of the current system
             whereby the Stop List is manually updated and distributed. This is another area that
             reinforces the Commission’s strong recommendation that the immigration system needs to
             be fully computerised immediately and with a great sense of urgency.
             The Commission heard of instances where people legally and ordinarily resident in Turks
             & Caicos had been placed on the Stop List in their absence on holiday and refused entry
             on their return, without any opportunity to defend themselves.

             Recommendations
             6.2.1      The new computer system must have the capacity to receive database
                        information from immigration authorities in other countries, and to
                        automatically alert immigration officers at entry points of any stop-listed
                        person trying to enter the country.



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             6.2.2      The provisions relating to the Stop List should be amended so that no
                        person in possession of a valid permit should be refused entry to the
                        country without being given the opportunity of defending any allegations
                        made against them.

     6.3     DEPORTATION

             Background
             The Commission shared the high level of concern expressed at public meetings as to
             reported incidents of persons already living in the country, even persons who have entered
             legally, being taken into custody, detained and “repatriated” without a deportation order
             and without being given an opportunity to defend themselves or settle their affairs. It
             appeared to the Commission that there is no provision in the law for such a procedure.
             Power is given to immigration officers to direct the removal of persons who have entered
             illegally, but the power is limited to sending those persons back on the ship or aircraft by
             which they arrived or directing the owners or agents of that ship or aircraft to remove the
             person on some other ship or aircraft. As the law stands, it appears that the only other
             power to remove persons from the country is by way of a deportation order issued by the
             Governor. The Commission deplores the practice of “repatriating” any person without
             due process of law and considered the appropriate procedure in each of the following
             cases:
             (a)     People who have arrived illegally by boat or other means.
             (b)     People who have committed a crime.
             (c)     People who have entered legally but have overstayed their allotted time.
             (d)     People whose work permits have been refused.

             Recommendations
             6.3.1      The detention and repatriation provisions should not apply to anyone
                        who has entered the country legally. The new law must clearly provide
                        that no person who arrived in the country legally can be sent out of the
                        country except under a formal deportation order signed by the Governor
                        or issued by a court.
             6.3.2      The new law must contain an expanded deportation procedure, requiring
                        every deportation written order to contain full particulars of the alleged
                        facts and grounds for deportation, and providing for, except in cases of
                        utmost danger to the security of the country, the opportunity to receive
                        legal advice and to make representations before an order is made.
             6.3.3      No person should be deported by reason only of a delay in the processing
                        of his/her application for a work permit or any renewal thereof, or in the
                        issuing of a work permit that has been granted.
             6.3.4      In the case of persons living in the country who cannot show that they
                        entered legally, and who cannot be repatriated on the aircraft or vessel by



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                        which they arrived (or where the owner of the vessel cannot be
                        determined), the Director of Immigration (and not any immigration
                        officer) should have the power to order deportation, subject to a right of
                        appeal to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal. Any such order should
                        specify the facts and grounds on which it was based, and should not be
                        issued until the person involved has been given a proper opportunity to
                        produce evidence that they entered legally, and to obtain legal advice.
             6.3.5      A deportation order issued by the Governor should not be the subject of
                        an appeal, but should be subject to judicial review. An order should not
                        be given effect if a court has given leave for judicial review.
             6.3.6      In the case of persons convicted of crimes, and depending on the
                        seriousness of the crime, the courts should either be required or have the
                        power to order deportation immediately or following a specified term of
                        imprisonment, with the intent of saving, in appropriate cases, the cost of
                        imprisonment and prison space. If there is an appeal against conviction
                        or sentence, the deportation order should not be given effect until the
                        outcome of the appeal, and should be discharged if the appeal is
                        successful. A deportation order made by a court should not be subject to
                        appeal.
             6.3.7      Government should consider specifying a list of serious crimes involving
                        mandatory deportation.
             6.3.8      In the case of a deportation order made following the denial of a work
                        permit, the person concerned should be allowed to remain in the country
                        to wind up their affairs for a period of not less than 14 days and up to 90
                        days from the date on which written notice of the denial was received. A
                        deportation order should not be made if the denial of a work permit is
                        under appeal.

     6.4     BORDER CONTROL – ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

             Background
             The Commission spent a considerable amount of time on this particular area, as it is
             perhaps one of the greatest threats to the interests of Turks & Caicos, especially now as
             political and social unrest in Haiti is escalating. Reports reaching the Commission
             indicate that plans are already being made to facilitate the exodus of supporters of the
             current regime in the event of its overthrow.
             The arrival of boatloads of emigrants from Haiti causes several problems for Turks &
             Caicos. There is the significant cost to the country of the detection, arrest, detention and
             repatriation of illegal immigrants. The detention facility in Providenciales is makeshift
             and highly unsatisfactory, so that detainees are forced to suffer inhumane conditions,
             reflecting poorly on the country’s reputation. Those illegals who manage to evade
             detection live primitively and many in their desperation resort to burglary. Given that the
             country’s economy is in large part supported by tourism and wealthy retirees, we can ill-
             afford people being discouraged by the perceived threat to personal security and rise in



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             the level of crime. Some illegals manage to find work only to be exploited, again
             reflecting poorly on Turks & Caicos.
             In the process of its review, the Commission learnt that the one of the two remaining
             patrol boats used for detecting vessels carrying illegals is virtually unusable and is about
             to be decommissioned. The Commission visited His Excellency the Governor and was
             informed that there was no hope of any funding from Britain, which is in the process of
             withdrawing all financial support for Turks & Caicos. The Governor did indicate that his
             office was very conscious of the seriousness of the illegal immigration problem, and that
             he had been involved in trying to secure assistance from the US Coast Guard and others.
             The Commission recognises that the breach of Turks & Caicos borders by illegal
             immigrants is not a matter that this country can readily resolve with its current resources.
             It is noted that the Bahamas also have a serious problem of illegal immigration from Haiti
             and, even with its resources, has been forced to appeal to the United States for assistance.
              The Commission does have some difficulty with the fact that Her Majesty’s Government,
             having retained constitutional responsibility for and power over the conduct of “any
             business of the Government of the Islands” in the areas of defence, external affairs and
             internal security, appears to feel no obligation to meet the cost of its responsibilities.
             Be that as it may, the Commission thinks that it is not realistic to expect any material
             financial assistance from the direction of the UK, and that Turks & Caicos must urgently
             implement our own cost-effective measures as soon as possible.
             Although the Police were keen to obtain a large sea-going vessel capable of staying at sea
             for several days, the Commission is persuaded that the high cost of acquisition and
             maintenance of such a vessel would be unjustified when weighed against the difficulties
             associated with apprehending and taking on board a large number of desperate people in
             the middle of the ocean.
             The Commission received several complaints from the public concerning the fact that
             much of the problem is caused by Turks & Caicos Islanders employing illegal immigrants
             as a cheap source of labour, and that very rarely are such employers ever prosecuted. It
             was alleged that there have been cases where the employee has been prosecuted but not
             the employer. The Commission feels that if anything that situation should be the other
             way around, and that employers should have a much greater degree of accountability for
             their part in encouraging illegal immigration and exploiting illegal immigrants.
             In light of the current and the impending situation, the Commission strongly recommends
             the urgent implementation of various interim measures until effective long-term solutions
             can be put in place. The number and severity of the recommendations give an indication
             of the seriousness with which the Commission, and the public at large, regard the
             situation.




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             THE IMPORTANCE AND URGENCY WHICH THE COMMISSION PLACES
                 ON THE NEED TO STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IMMEDIATELY
                                  CANNOT BE OVER-EMPHASIZED.

             Recommendations
             6.4.1    As a matter of urgency, resources should be focused on the early
                      detection and apprehension of illegals travelling by boat. Another two
                      50-foot patrol vessels are urgently required.
             6.4.2    The Government should consider a land-based radar system, capable of
                      detecting and monitoring slow-moving boats at a long distance. The
                      system would need to be manned nightly, and there would have to be a
                      quick response team of officers ready to capture any vessel on its arrival.
             6.4.3    There should be a moratorium placed on all marine traffic from Haiti.
                      While this may cause concern by those who trade with Haiti, the
                      Commission believes that the threat to the national security and other
                      interests of the country is so great as to warrant such a measure.
             6.4.4    There should be quickly established an Enforcement Unit within the
                      Immigration Department which should be given high-level training in the
                      use of weapons and self-defence. The new legislation should give the
                      members of the Enforcement Unit the right to carry arms on special
                      assignments.
             6.4.5    For the longer term, consideration should be given to separating the
                      Police Marine Branch from the Police Force, making it a separate
                      autonomous department, and thus allowing it to develop special expertise
                      in border control in relation to illegal immigrants, as well as interdiction
                      of drug shipments and the protection of fisheries and national parks.
             6.4.6    There should urgently be established a proper purpose-built Detention
                      Center that will house detainees being processed for repatriation in
                      humane conditions.
             6.4.7    The new legislation should provide for the confiscation of boats used to
                      transport illegal immigrants and for their destruction if they are not
                      capable of use by government. The necessary provisions could be similar
                      to the confiscation provisions in the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance or the
                      Drug Trafficking Ordinance.
             6.4.8    The new legislation should contain a section making a crime of human
                      trafficking, which would extend to aiding and abetting.
             6.4.9    There ought to be stiff penalties to serve as deterrents. The present
                      maximum penalty of $10,000 and imprisonment for 2 years should be
                      increased to $100,000 and 5 years.




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             6.4.10   There should be a firm zero-tolerance policy that in every case where an
                      illegal immigrant is found working, it is mandatory that the employer be
                      prosecuted and heavily fined.
             6.4.11   There should be specific provision for the prosecution of any manager or
                      officer of a company who is responsible for the company employing
                      illegal immigrants or who knows of the practice and fails to do anything
                      to stop it. Where any manager or officer who is convicted is the holder of
                      a work permit, their work permit should be revoked and they should be
                      barred from further employment in Turks & Caicos.
             6.4.12   There should be a campaign of advertisement in Turks & Caicos but
                      more particularly in Haiti giving notice to the Haitian population of all
                      new policy measures introduced, and warning against attempting to enter
                      Turks & Caicos illegally.
             6.4.13   In addition to the above list of recommended measures, the Commission
                      has in several other places in this Report made strong recommendations
                      intended to stop illegal immigration. These are as follows:
                      (a)   Regularising and giving security of tenure to workers already in
                            the country with a view to establishing a settled labour force.
                            (See section 1.7)
                      (b)   Discouraging and criminalising marriages of convenience.
                            (See section 1.2)
                      (c)   A moratorium until 31 March 2005 on the issue of any new work
                            permit for unskilled Haitian nationals. (See paragraph 3.15.1)
                      (d)   Prohibition on spouses and dependants of persons unable to pay
                            for private education. (See paragraph 3.15.2)
                      (e)   Requirement to repatriate any child born in Turks & Caicos who
                            is not a Belonger. (See paragraph 3.15.3)
                      (f)   Several new requirements for a visa to enter Turks & Caicos. (See
                            paragraph 5.3.2)
                      (g)   Requirement for the interview of visa applicants, and for
                            proficiency in the English language. (See paragraphs 5.3.3 and
                            5.3.4)
                      (h)   The processing of all visa applications in the British Embassy in
                            Haiti. (See paragraph 5.3.6)
                      (i)   The exclusion of Haiti from any statutory schedule of countries
                            from which refugees may be considered for asylum. (See
                            paragraph 6.5.2)
                      (j)   Regulation of “immigration consultants”. (See section 9.1)




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     6.5     REFUGEES AND STATELESS PERSONS

             Background
             The Commission noted that the existing legislation contains no provision for refugees or
             stateless persons. On the other hand, there was concern that if the legislation did contain
             provision for the accommodation of refugees, it could make much worse the already
             serious problem of “boat people” from Haiti, especially given that the current political
             and social crisis there has all indications of deepening and there is a real possibility of a
             mass exodus of supporters of the current regime if it loses its control of the country.
             The proximity of Turks & Caicos to Cuba was also noted.
             The Commission feels that the Government would be justified in adopting its own policy
             on the issue regardless of so-called “international standards”, given the very small size of
             our economy, population and land mass and the likely effect on an already sensitive
             society of a large influx of non-English-speaking destitute people.
             Separately the Commission considered the case of “stateless” people, i.e. those persons
             who were born or have become resident in Turks & Caicos and who are unable, legally or
             practically, to obtain a passport in this or any other country. It is understood that there
             may be quite a number of such people in the population. The existing law does contain
             provision for conferring permanent residency status on people who “have become
             assimilated into the life and affairs of the Islands”. It is not clear whether the current
             criterion for the grant of Belonger status, which requires “an outstanding contribution to
             the economic and social development of the Islands”, permits the grant of Belongership to
             stateless persons.

             Recommendations
             6.5.1      The Government should make a decision as to whether the new
                        legislation should contain provision for granting asylum. The decision
                        should be taken after establishing this country‟s actual (rather than
                        perceived) obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees
                        and other international law, and after having regard to the distinction
                        between political and economic refugees.
             6.5.2      If the decision is to include asylum provisions, there should be a schedule
                        specifying the list of countries from which refugees may be considered for
                        asylum. The Republic of Haiti should not be on that list.
             6.5.3      Where a person has obtained BOTC(T&C) status by virtue of
                        statelessness, and is of good health and character, he/she should be given
                        Belonger status.
             6.5.4       In the case of a child under 10 (the age at which application for
                        BOTC(T&C) can be made) who is unable legally or practically to obtain
                        a passport, he/she should be given Permanent Residency with the
                        unrestricted right to work until he/she becomes eligible for Belonger
                        status under the foregoing.




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7.   THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT


     7.1     ORGANISATION

             Background
             Central to the Commission’s remit was the restoring of public trust in the Immigration
             Department – a task that was given the utmost attention by the Commission.
             From claims and comments made at both public meetings and in individual submissions,
             the Commission received the impression that the general public perception is that the
             Immigration Department is rife with corruption on the part of some immigration officers,
             and that officers usually abused the powers given them in dealing with immigrants,
             especially those coming from Haiti. However, people were reluctant to provide details
             and specifics with which we could work, apparently for fear that someone may “get into
             trouble” on their say-so, and the Commission was unable to determine the accuracy of
             such allegations or the extent of any alleged corruption. Nevertheless, it is clear that there
             is a lack of public confidence in the Department.
             The Commission is of the view that no matter what recommendations are made and
             regardless of what is accepted by the Government for implementation, the mission to
             restore credibility to the Department and the immigration process will not be achieved
             unless the entire structure is overhauled and there is a major change in the mind-set of
             immigration personnel.
             An effective immigration system requires not only sound management but also an attitude
             of fairness and openness in the administration and enforcement of the system.
             Good management cannot overcome bad policy. And good policy will be foiled by lack of
             professionalism, poor planning and failure to set priorities.

             Recommendations
             7.1.1      There must be a fundamental restructuring of responsibilities within
                        Government to allow the Director of Immigration to have the same or
                        similar powers regarding his officers as does the Commissioner of Police
                        vis-à-vis police officers, including the power to engage, dismiss and
                        discipline. The Commission feels that this will support a more effective
                        management of the core functions of the Immigration Department.
             7.1.2      The incumbent Director of Immigration and other senior immigration
                        officers should be sent abroad for extensive training in immigration
                        management. During the Director‟s absence, a senior and seasoned
                        immigration administrator (perhaps one who has retired from service)
                        should be recruited as Acting Director to begin implementing the
                        restructuring of the Department and the requisite training programmes
                        for its staff.




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             7.1.3      To assist such an Acting Director, the Government should consider
                        starting an inquiry into the allegations of corruption in the Department.
                        Under the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance there is power to compel
                        persons to attend and answer questions.
             7.1.4      Immigration officers should be prohibited from operating or acting in a
                        situation that would put them in a conflict of interest situation with the
                        duties of their employment.
             7.1.5      Immigration officers and other public officers should be prohibited from
                        holding a financial or other interest in an entity that conducts business
                        with the Department of Immigration.
             7.1.6      The Immigration Department should employ more Belongers of Haitian
                        and Dominican extract to assist in dealing with persons from those
                        countries, especially considering the cultural differences that exist
                        between Belongers and those nationalities.
             7.1.7      The Department must come up with a system of assigning tasks and
                        responsibilities to officers that will keep them productive, and should not
                        allow officers to be seen idly sitting around in the office.
             7.1.8      There should be a system of recognition and rewards for good
                        performance.

     7.2     TRAINING

             Background
             Another matter that was regularly raised by the public and indeed by all immigration
             officers we spoke to was that, as well as being under-funded and under-resourced, the
             Department is grossly lacking in properly trained staff at all levels. Many who have had
             dealings with Department staff are frustrated when different officers give different
             answers to the same question.
             It does appear that the Department is staffed with many young people who would not yet
             be fully aware of family responsibilities and the ways of dealing with people. It appears to
             the Commission that the Director of Immigration has little say as to which persons are
             engaged to be immigration officers, and that often new officers are sent to work in the
             Department without any training at all. The Commission is concerned that, in the
             absence of proper training, these young officers are prone to regard an attitude of malaise
             as the norm, spoiling their chances for advancement from the beginning.
             The Commission believes that there needs to be a complete reappraisal by government of
             the traditional attitudes in and towards the civil service. Especially now, with the UK’s
             withdrawal of financial support for government officers, the country can no longer afford
             to have people regard the civil service as providing a job guaranteed for life. People must
             come to realise that the more they learn, acquire skills, provide valuable and courteous
             service, take responsibility and be accountable, the more they will be rewarded both
             financially and emotionally. A system where one is not rewarded for extra effort and is not




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             reprimanded for sloppiness or inactivity does nothing but perpetuate mediocrity and
             pettiness.

             Recommendations
             7.2.1     There should be instituted a system of formal training which should be
                       undertaken by all immigration officers before they take up their duties.
                       Such training must include:
                       (a)    the basic training given to police officers
                       (b)    instruction in immigration law and principles
                       (c)    familiarisation with established immigration procedures.
             7.2.2     Every immigration officer should be required to take part in a
                       programme of continuing professional development and training for a set
                       number of hours yearly.
             7.2.3     There should be a system of examination for promotion, administered
                       yearly or at other regular intervals.
             7.2.4     A full-time training officer should be attached to the Immigration
                       Department.
             7.2.5     The Department should expand its current practice of involving willing
                       persons from the community to lecture the officers about specific aspects
                       of policy and practice.
             7.2.6     On an ongoing basis, officers who show promise should be sent overseas
                       for wider experience and training, and also senior personnel managers
                       should be brought in from overseas periodically to work with staff and to
                       offer suggestions based on up-to-date immigration practice in other
                       jurisdictions.
             7.2.7     Officers should be required to undergo a test of their knowledge before
                       being allowed to work on the counter, where they are expected to give
                       answers to people inquiring about many areas of the law, policy and
                       procedure.

     7.3     FACILITIES AND RESOURCES

             Background
             The Commission heard both from the public and immigration officers themselves that
             there is an urgent need for the Department to be properly housed and resourced.
             The Commission received many submissions to the effect that the filing system be moved
             to Providenciales, where the great majority of permit holders are located.




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             Recommendations
             7.3.1      The Immigration Department should be housed in its own secure,
                        purpose-built and fully-equipped facility that would accommodate all
                        aspects of the immigration system, including separate areas for public
                        reception, administration, filing, and enforcement. It should also house
                        the meeting-room and offices of the Work Permit Board and its staff.
             7.3.2      As earlier recommended, there urgently needs to be established a proper
                        purpose-built Detention Center that will house detainees in humane
                        conditions.
             7.3.3      Government should consider either moving a centralised filing and
                        record system to the Providenciales offices of the Department.
                        Alternatively it should create two systems, one serving Grand Turk,
                        South Caicos and Salt Cay, and the other serving the other islands.
             7.3.4      It will be far more efficient if there is one file for each permit-holder. In
                        fact, if it were otherwise, we could end up with an administrative disaster.
                         This is why the offices of the Work Permit Board must be within the
                        building housing the Immigration Department, so that there can be one
                        centralised filing system available to both the Department and the Board.
             7.3.5      Someone should be sent to the Cayman Islands if it is desired to observe a
                        model immigration filing system in operation.
             7.3.6      The Immigration Department needs to have at its disposal a sufficient
                        number of secure vehicles designed for the transportation of persons in
                        custody.

     7.4     DEALINGS WITH THE PUBLIC

             Background
             There was a general perception that the Department needs to become more user-friendly.
             The Commission observed conditions in the immigration offices, and believes it to be
             highly undesirable that applicants and enquirers are jammed into crowded spaces where
             they have to wait for excruciatingly long periods to obtain what ought to be readily
             available information. Nor is it at all desirable that members of the public waiting to be
             attended to are able to see officers sitting around doing nothing other than chatting and
             joking. It was observed that the officers with nothing to do are generally the first out of
             the door in the afternoon.
             There was concern at the practice of closing the Department in the middle of the day for
             staff meetings. This was seen as a dereliction of duty, and causes great inconvenience to
             the Department’s customers, some of who only have a few minutes in the day to take care
             of their business with immigration.




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             Recommendations
             7.4.1      Any new facility must include a spacious public area with many windows
                        for dealing over the counter with the officers on duty.
             7.4.2      The Department should be open to the public all during the day,
                        including the hours from 12 to 2 p.m.
             7.4.3      The public area should contain a proper notice board that enables public
                        notices to be accessible and easily read.
             7.4.4      Any change in the procedure or requirements for the processing of
                        applications should not take effect before there has been full publication
                        and firms have had an opportunity to adjust to the changes.
             7.4.5      There needs to be an Immigration Department web-site which contains
                        information and guidelines, and also a tracking system that enables
                        employers to check the progress of applications online. For good
                        examples of such a site, see www.gov.ky and www.gov.bm .
             7.4.6      The Department should keep an email address-book of all those who have
                        regular contact with the Department, so that notices, new forms etc. can
                        be easily circulated.

     7.5     ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES

             Background
             Much concern was expressed to the Commission concerning the attitude and actions of
             some immigration officers carrying out enforcement duties. It is clear that among some
             officers there is a nasty attitude that people who are not from Turks & Caicos are
             somehow bad people and are to be treated badly. There were reports of people being
             taken from their homes in the middle of the night and repatriated without being allowed
             to collect their belongings or notify their relatives. A report just reaching the Commission
             alleges that in one such exercise recently involving immigration and police officers,
             money was stolen from the people being “repatriated” before being put into the aircraft,
             and a woman was beaten when she protested. In another case the Commission heard of,
             an elderly American was incarcerated at the police station for a day and a night after a
             junior immigration officer considered himself to have been disrespected.
             The Commission sees the need for an overall change in the mind-set of enforcement
             officers.
             While enforcement officers often need to be firm, they can do so in a professional and
             humane manner, and have no need or excuse to resort to abuse, whether physical,
             psychological or sexual.

             Recommendation
             7.5.1      As recommended above, there should be a separate Enforcement Unit
                        with its own offices and facilities within the Immigration Department,
                        whose officers are properly trained to act competently and professionally.



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     7.6     NEED FOR A FULLY COMPUTERISED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

             Background
             That the Immigration Department is in desperate need of a fully-functional computer
             system was and remains a universal message heard by the Commission. That such a
             system is needed urgently now goes without saying. Among the primary advantages are
             the following:
             (a)    The ability to capture a great deal of information which provides the accurate
                    statistics necessary for the formulation of government policy and measures.
             (b)    The immediate availability onscreen of passenger details and picture identification
                    for immigration officers at ports of entry.
             (c)    The ability to retain information concerning the personal details and travel history
                    of persons entering and leaving the country, and to track such people when they
                    are in the country.
             (d)    The availability of relevant information concerning the number and whereabouts
                    of visitors when hurricane warnings are issued.
             (e)    The ability to track criminals and other threats to society, and to receive quickly
                    from authorities in other countries information and pictures of known criminals
                    leaving their jurisdiction.
             (f)    The availability of small machine-readable cards for all forms of permit, which
                    become the main form of identification for all foreigners in the country, and which
                    can be issued without delay by counter staff. Such cards can also be made to
                    automatically expire or to be invalidated by altering the holder’s identification
                    code.
             (g)    The facility for an internet-based tracking system which would enable employers
                    and agents to follow the progress of permit applications.
             The Department’s current filing system and data collection facilities are out-of-date,
             poorly organised and poorly equipped, resulting in a great deal of inefficiency. The
             Department is unable to generate in any timely manner any historical statistics concerning
             the issue of permits and the movement of permit-holders into and out of the country.
             The Commission was made aware of a number of proposals for the computerising of the
             immigration system. The delegation which visited the Cayman Islands was given an
             excellent familiarisation tour of all aspects of their system, which was highly impressive.
             The Computer Services division in the Cayman Islands government is ready, willing and
             able to implement a similar system in Turks & Caicos, and has already made a
             presentation to the Department here. The Commission understands that the Cayman
             proposal is the one favoured by the Immigration Department.
             The Commission is firmly of the view that the Cayman proposal is by far the best solution
             for Turks & Caicos, for the following reasons:
             (i)    From the Commission’s observations in Cayman, that country’s immigration law
                    and procedures are very similar to those in Turks & Caicos.



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             (ii)    Also very similar are the issues surrounding a large foreign work force and a large
                     proportion of unskilled workers from one particular country. The concerns of
                     Caymanians are the same as those of Turks & Caicos Islanders.
             (iii)   The laws and procedures addressing those issues and those concerns are built into
                     the Cayman system.
             (iv)    The Cayman system has been computerised since the mid 1980s, and it has been
                     developed over the last 20 years to be as user-friendly, flexible and comprehensive
                     as possible.
             (v)     The Cayman Government’s Computer Services Department is a fully equipped
                     and professionally staffed operation, managed on the same lines as a business
                     corporation. It is fully cognisant of and has a long experience in the design,
                     operation, maintenance and modification of an immigration computer system, and
                     of the procedures and practicalities involved in a government immigration service
                     that is very similar to that of Turks & Caicos.
             (vi)    The Cayman computer system operates on an Oracle database platform, and also
                     accommodates Cayman’s computer-based Land Registry and Companies Registry
                     systems. As the laws and procedures relating to land title and companies in Turks
                     & Caicos are very similar to those in Cayman, it would make sense to engage the
                     Cayman Computer Services Department to assist us in the implementation of
                     those systems as well, using the same platform.

             Recommendations
             7.6.1      The Government should move quickly to meet with and negotiate an
                        agreement with the Cayman Computer Services Department to
                        implement a fully functional computer system for this country‟s
                        Immigration Department.
             7.6.2      A delegation which ideally should include the Chief Minister, Minister of
                        Finance and Minister of Immigration should visit the Cayman Islands to
                        observe first-hand the facilities and operation of the Computer Services
                        Department and the Immigration Department.
             7.6.3      The statistics that the system is capable of producing should include the
                        following:
                        (a) Number of permit holders (including permanent residents) in the
                              country at any given time, broken down by type of permit,
                              nationality, occupation and salary level.
                        (b)    Number of work permit applications processed and the percentage
                               granted.
                        (c)    The number of Belongers who apply for positions advertised, and
                               the number whose application was unsuccessful.
                        (d)    Number of Belongers and expatriates employed in each type of
                               occupation and at each level.




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                      (e)   Number of Belongers who are owners or part-owners of
                            businesses.
                      (f)   Number of expatriate workers leaving the country permanently,
                            and the number who leave voluntarily.
                      (g)   Net annual increase or decrease in work permit holders each year.
                      (h)   Average period of residence of expatriate workers in general and
                            in each occupation.
                      (i)   Percentage of expatriate workers who become permanent
                            residents.
                      (j)   Number of holders of a Business Investor‟s Permit or Business
                            Owner‟s Permit.
                      (k)   Number of home-owners who do not have the right to work.
                      (l)   Number of Belongers who have left the country and remain
                            outside the country.
                      (m)   Number of Belongers who leave for study or training overseas and
                            who do not return on completion.
                      (n)   Number of foreigners convicted of serious crimes, by nationality
                            and type of crime




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8.   FEES


     8.1     LEVELS OF FEES

             Background
             The Commission felt it was necessary to re-examine the fee structure for the various
             categories of immigration status. It considers that some of the current fees are too
             onerous, but also recognises the need for Government revenue to cover the costs of
             infrastructure, health and education. It felt that persons given long-term residence should
             make an annual contribution to Government revenue. The Commission gave careful
             consideration to the levels of the applicable fees and the timing of their collection.

             Recommendations
             8.1.1      There should be a general power on the part of the Executive Council to
                        grant a reduction in or exemption from fees in respect of any particular
                        person or category of persons.
             8.1.2      As in the case of the Ministerial directives (see paragraph 3.18.2), any
                        increase in fees should be advertised well in advance of the date when it is
                        to take effect and, particularly where a substantial increase is being
                        considered, there should be consultation with the business sector/s
                        affected.
             8.1.3      All application fees should be non-refundable.
             8.1.4      Belonger Status
                        (a)    Application:              $500
                        (b)    Grant:                    $2,500 on the issue of the certificate.
                        (c)    Exemption:                Spouse and child of Belonger
             8.1.5      Spouse‟s Permit (Spouse of a Belonger)
                        (a)    Application fee:          $500
                        (b)    Fee on grant:             $1,000 on the issue of the permit
             8.1.6      Permanent Residency with the right to work (Classes 1 & 2)
                        (a)    Application:              $1,000
                        (b)    Grant: At the option of the grantee, either (i) an amount equal to
                               the holder‟s last work permit fee, to be paid annually in advance
                               for a period of 10 years, or (ii) one-time fee equivalent to 5 times
                               the annual amount, to be paid on the issue of the PRC.
                        (c)    Endorsees:                $1,000 each upon endorsement
                        (d)    Refugees and stateless persons:              Exempt




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             8.1.7    Permanent Residency without the right to work (Class 3)
                      (a)   Application:             $500
                      (b)   Grant:                   $2,500 annually in advance
                      (c)   Endorsees:               $1,000 each upon endorsement
             8.1.8    Home-Owner‟s Permit (25 years)
                      (a)   Application:             $500
                      (b)   Grant:                   $2,500 annually in advance
             8.1.9    Business Investor‟s Permit (25 Years)
                      (a)   Application:             $1,000
                      (b)   Grant:                   $7,500 annually in advance
                      (c)   Endorsees:               $1,000 each upon endorsement
             8.1.10   Annual Residence Permit
                      (a)   Application:             $100
                      (b)   Grant:                   $1,000
                      (c)   Endorsement:             $1,000 each upon endorsement
             8.1.11   Business Owner‟s Permit
                      (a)   Application:             $500
                      (b)   Grant:                   The equivalent to the highest fee for
                                                     an Employee‟s Permit
                      (c)   Endorsees:               $1,000 each upon endorsement
             8.1.12   Freelancer‟s Permit
                      (a)   Application:             $250
                      (b)   Grant:                   $500 annually in advance
                      (c)   NO endorsements
             8.1.13   Employee‟s Permit
                      (a)   The Commission strongly recommends exempting all fees for
                            teachers and for persons employed either full or part time by any
                            properly established non-profit organisation which has been
                            approved for the purpose by the Minister of Immigration.
                      (b)   The Commission considers the current fees in the following
                            categories are too high: gardener, labourer, baggage handler,
                            nurse, ramp worker, mixologist.
                      (c)   The fee should be reduced proportionally where the term of the
                            permit is less than a year, subject to a minimum of 25%.
             8.1.14   Temporary Work Permit


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                        (a)     Application:               $100
                        (b)     Grant:                     $350
                        (c)     Extension:                 $100 per day
             8.1.15     Emergency Work Permit
                        (a)     Application:               $250
                        (b)     Grant:                     $1,000 for 6 weeks
                        (c)     Additional 4 weeks:        $500
             8.1.16     Business Visitor‟s Permit
                        (a)     Application:               $50
                        (b)     Grant:                     $200 per trip authorised by the permit
             8.1.17     Travel Letters
                        (a)     Grant:                     $25
             8.1.18     Visas
                        (a)     Application:               $250
                        (b)     Grant:                     $500

     8.2     PAYMENTS AND REFUNDS

             Background
             On the basis of submissions received, the Commission reviewed the present system as it
             relates to the payment of fees. The existing legislation requires the relevant fee to be paid
             at the time of application, and it is then refunded if the application is unsuccessful. There
             was general concern as to the time taken for the processing of applications. There were
             also allegations of fraudulent practices by unscrupulous persons who undertake to obtain
             a work permit for an unskilled worker and who collect from their “client” the work permit
             fee, but who either fail to make the application or fail to return the fee if the application is
             refused (which may be expected or engineered). There were also many complaints about
             the time taken for refunds to be made, and about the failure of notification of the
             availability of refund cheques. It was felt that making the fee payable on the grant of the
             application would eliminate these problems.
             The Commission also considered the question of a premature departure of a work permit
             holder prior to the expiry of his work permit.

             Recommendations
             8.2.1      The fee for the grant of any form of status should not be payable in
                        advance of the grant of the application, but should be collected at the
                        time when the actual certificate or permit is collected by the applicant.




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             8.2.2    For all applications there should be a non-refundable administrative fee
                      payable at the time the application is submitted.
             8.2.3    Where a work permit holder leaves his employment before the expiration
                      of his work permit, there should be a pro rata refund of the fee paid,
                      subject to a maximum of 75%.




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9.   OTHER MATTERS


     9.1     NATIONAL IDENTITY CARD

             Background
             It was part of the Commission’s terms of reference to make recommendations on the
             question whether there should be a national identity card.
             The Commission sees the main argument for such a card being that it allows for the easy
             ascertainment of the immigration status of any person whose status needs to be
             established. In order for the scheme to be fully effective, it requires every person to be
             legally obliged to have such a card. Under such a scheme, the presumption is that if a
             person cannot produce an identity card he can be assumed to be in the country illegally.
             However if under the scheme a portion of the population is not required to have the card,
             then it is open to a person found without a card to claim that he is one of those not
             required to have it. This is relevant mostly in the case of Bahamians who claim to be
             Belongers by descent.
             There was little support among those who attended public meetings for the concept of a
             card that is compulsory for everyone.
             In the case of all people who are not Belongers, a de-facto identity card scheme already
             exists, in the form of the permit which evidences the holder’s right to reside in Turks &
             Caicos. To improve the existing scheme, all that remains is to make the permit available
             in the same form as a credit card which fits in the wallet and is machine-readable. It is
             then an easy next step to require that such cards be kept in the holder’s possession so that
             their immigration status at any particular time can be easily checked by enforcement
             officers.
             Under an improved scheme based on immigration permits, the only question in regard to
             someone who is found without a card is whether or not the person has Belonger status.
             Although most Turks & Caicos Islanders appear to think that the objections to a
             compulsory identity card outweigh the benefits to immigration enforcement, there are
             clear advantages to at least providing for such cards to be issued on request, especially in
             the case of a Belonger who was born overseas or who has acquired the status by operation
             of law. It means that such a person needs only on one occasion to establish his/her
             Belonger status to the satisfaction of the authorities; thereafter the card is available to be
             produced as proof.

             Recommendations
             9.1.1      There should be no compulsory national identity card introduced in
                        Turks & Caicos.
             9.1.2      As soon as the recommended computer system permits, all immigration
                        permits and certificates issued should be in the form of a machine-
                        readable wallet-sized plastic card. Every card should contain:



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                        (a)   A picture of the holder
                        (b)   Any biometric identification capable of inclusion on the card
                        (c)   An identification code
                        (d)   The holder‟s full name
                        (e)   The date and place of birth
                        (f)   The type of status
                        (g)   The date of the acquisition of the status and, if applicable, the
                              expiry date.
             9.1.3      There should be a requirement that every holder of such a card be
                        obliged to produce the card to a police or immigration officer on demand,
                        or, if not in his/her possession, within 48 hours. There should be a
                        defence where there is a genuine reason for the inability to produce a
                        card that was issued.
             9.1.4      Any Belonger who proves to the satisfaction of the Director of
                        Immigration that he/she is a Belonger, or who obtains a finding to that
                        effect by any court in Turks & Caicos, should be entitled to an
                        identification card on request and payment of the relevant fee.

     9.2     IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS

             Background
             The Commission heard many complaints about the number of people making a living by
             obtaining visas and permits for unskilled and semi-skilled workers, as well as allegations
             of improper business practice on the part of some of them, ranging from bribery and
             exploitation to simple incompetence. The Commission understands that several of these
             so-called consultants do not have an established place of business but operate “on the
             streets”. There was a general demand for the regularisation of the situation.
             The Commission gave much deliberation on the matter, recognising that no Belonger
             should be denied a Business License.

             Recommendations
             9.2.1      There should be a simple system of regulating persons holding themselves
                        out as immigration consultants or agents.
             9.2.2      Such persons should not be permitted to do business with any
                        government department or board unless they have passed an objective
                        form of test administered by a senior immigration officer. The test would
                        need to be undertaken every two years.
             9.2.3      There should be a code of conduct governing consultants and agents, a
                        breach of which should render the offender liable to a fine and/or loss of
                        the right to carry on that business.



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     9.3     FAMILIARISATION WITH TURKS & CAICOS

             Background
             People coming to live in Turks & Caicos tend to take varying amounts of time to get a
             feel for the idiom and customs of the community. Their knowledge of the country
             depends on the extent to which they have taken time to read, and on the number of Turks
             & Caicos Islanders they encounter and socialise with after arrival. The Commission feels
             that more should be done locally to help new arrivals “mix in” more easily.

             Recommendation
             9.3.1      The Government should consider organising an “induction” programme
                        that would be available for all people taking up residence in Turks &
                        Caicos. Such a programme should not be perceived as overbearing or
                        interfering but as a helpful guide to the ways of life in Turks & Caicos.
                        Such programmes are common in private corporations and government
                        departments. It is simply good sense and efficient practice to have new
                        entrants start out knowing all the “rules of the house” to minimise
                        friction, promote good communication, and encourage a sense of loyalty.

     9.4     MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

             Background
             The Commission heard from the Medical Department that it is in need of a full service
             public health laboratory to ensure the proper testing of applicants for work permits. The
             medical personnel are concerned that the current practice of testing only for HIV and
             venereal disease does not go far enough to protect the people of Turks & Caicos from the
             many diseases capable of being communicated by persons arriving from overseas. The
             Department is also concerned about the cost of evacuating foreign nationals who require
             treatment abroad, a cost which the department is very often unable to recover.

             Recommendations
             9.4.1      The medical examination required for work permit and other
                        immigration applications should be expanded to include a general
                        determination of good health and tests for common communicable
                        diseases.
             9.4.2      The new law should specifically provide that any “repatriation” deposit
                        collected on the issue of a work permit or other permit may be applied
                        towards any costs incurred by the Government in providing medical
                        services to the holder and his family. In the case of a family, there should
                        be a sufficient repatriation deposit to cover each member of the family.
             9.4.3      Alternatively, the Government should investigate the possibility of
                        establishing an insurance scheme that would establish a fund created by
                        relatively small one-time premiums paid on the issue of permits.



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     9.5     DRAFTING CONSIDERATIONS – REGARD TO THE LAWS IN SIMILAR JURISDICTIONS

             Background
             The Commission was impressed with the extensive work of the Immigration Review
             Team in the Cayman Islands and the resulting new legislation which became law on 1
             January 2004. The legislation was the result of two years of deliberations and public
             consultation and debate. Many of the issues pertaining to immigration in the Cayman
             Islands are similar to those faced in Turks & Caicos. The proportion of the Jamaican
             population in the Caymans is almost the same as that of the Haitian population in Turks &
             Caicos, and the indigenous Caymanian population is also facing being outnumbered.
             Bermuda has also been examining its immigration laws, and has experienced some
             resistance from business interest and long-term residents. The conditions in Bermuda are
             rather different than apply in Turks & Caicos. Nevertheless its legislation may be useful.

             Recommendation
             9.5.1      In the drafting of any new legislation, the draftsman should keep at hand
                        copies of the legislation of similar jurisdictions, particularly that of the
                        Cayman Islands and Bermuda, for the purpose of fleshing out the
                        Commission‟s recommendations as appropriate.




                           ______________________________________________




                                              - 80 -
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                            February 2004



                                           APPENDIX


                       THE COMMISSION‟S TERMS OF REFERENCE



To be in charge of reviewing the current Immigration Ordinance, policy and procedure, and making
recommendations for a new Ordinance, policy and where possible new procedure for the more effective
and efficient dealing with Immigration matters.
To review in particular:
        The definition of Belonger
        The grounds upon which Belonger status is to be granted
        The “regularization” of persons present in the Islands who have been here for a number of years
         and do not know any other “home”
        The treatment of persons born in the TCI who are not children of Belongers
        The treatment of spouses of Belongers
        The grant, refusal and revocation of Permanent Residency Certificates
        The grant, refusal and revocation of Work Permits;
        A mechanism for the efficient disposal of applications for Belonger Status, PRCs and Work
         Permits
        The role of the Immigration Board and the possibility of replacing the Board or increasing its
         responsibility
        The possibility of making the Board separate and distinct from the Immigration Department
        The possibility of introducing a quota system for the grant of Work Permits for persons coming
         from specified countries
        The need to computerize the Immigration Board and the Immigration Department.
        The day to day procedure of the Immigration Department and the Immigration Board
        The system of visa issue and control
        The possibility of introducing of a National Identification Card,




                                                 - 81 -
Report of the Immigration Review Commission                                    February 2004



We, the Members of the Immigration Review Commission, confirm that the contents of this Report
accurately represent the views of the Commission.




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
R. Don-Hue Gardiner – Chairman                        Leo Selver – Secretary




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
Sean A. Astwood                                       Clayton E. Been




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
Harold Charles                                        Sharlene L. Cartwright Robinson




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
Thomas Saunders                                       Richard Savory




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
Wendal Swann                                          Michael Taylor




___________________________________                   ___________________________________
Rochelle Thompson                                     Desmond Wilson




                                           - 82 -

				
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