An amnesty for illegal workers

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Beginning April 1, a two-month amnesty will be in place to make a “significant dent” in what Labour Commissioner Eltonia Rojas said was the “serious” problem of non-nationals working illegally in Antigua & Barbuda (A&B).
She said she put the suggestion to the labour minister about two weeks ago, because to prosecute every person who was “out of line right now” would result in a very big net and require a doubling of staff at the Department of Labour (DoL).
Between April and May, those who do not have work permits can submit an application for amnesty with the assurance that they will not be sanctioned and their status will be regularised once they are in good standing with the Immigration Department.
“We will not bend the rule of the person having to have permission from the Immigration Department to apply for a work permit. Many people are getting visitor stamps when they arrive in Antigua but are still approaching the work permit section to secure work,” she explained.
Data provided by the DoL shows that 2,106 work permits were issued to Caricom nationals in 2016. The figure was not available for non-Caricom nationals.
Rojas said a conservative estimate would be that for every legal non-national employee in A&B, there is at least one person working illegally.
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