Opposition party critical about new immigration fees

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The opposition United Progressive Party’s (UPP) spokesperson on Legal Affairs Leon Chaku Symister, has stated that it is the poor and vulnerable who will suffer from the recent increase in the structure of fees at the Immigration Department.
The new fees, approved by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda in 2015, took effect on August 1.
“The government is taxing the people of this country left, right and centre. Those who had to pay Personal Income Tax which was abolished, they go home with their monies in their pockets. The poor people who need the services at the various government departments are being taxed into further poverty,” Symister said.
“The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party needs to take its hands out of poor people’s pocket,” he continued.
As per the new structure, a three-month extension for Caricom nationals now costs $150, up from $75. For non-Caricom nationals, the cost is now $300, up from $150. Work permit extensions for a year have increased to $150 for Caricom nationals and $300 for those outside of Caricom, up from $75 and $150 respectively.
For a resident certificate endorsement, the new cost is $2,000 for Caricom nationals and $3,500 for non-Caricom nationals. The certificate is valid for three years.
Caricom nationals applying for a student permit are now required to $150 instead of the usual $75, while non-Caricom nationals will pay $300 up from $150.
There are also new fees for Corporate Service, Travel Document and Research and Enquiry.
Earlier this month, Immigration officials noted that the new fee structure will bring Antigua and Barbuda in line with the costs associated with similar services in other Caribbean territories.

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