US gov’t policy could lead to return of skilled labour

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One of the founding members of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Dr Marcus Day, believes the present state of affairs in the United
States could encourage skilled migrants to return home.
Dr Day, who is also the director of the Caribbean Drug & Alcohol Research Institute in Castries St Lucia, was speaking during OBSERVER media’s Big Issues, focused on the US’ stricter immigration policy.
“What’s going on in the United States is actually encouraging people to look at home in a different way, and what opportunities exist here in the Caribbean for people with skillsets,” he said.
Dr Day, who described the present state of affairs in America as “very problematic” said many skilled nationals have opted to return to St Lucia in search of opportunities.
He said if Antigua & Barbuda and other countries in the region were to make returning home more appealing, some questions must be answered.
“We give tax concessions to foreigners all the time to do enterprises, but are we doing the same for our own nationals?” he queried.
Meantime, Dr Day is urging Caribbean migrants to regularise their immigration statuses.
He added that people living in the United States long enough should apply for citizenship since “the threat of deportation is always there”.
The researcher said more research must be carried out to determine how US deportees impact regional countries.
Dr Day said, however, the stigma placed on returning nationals to the region is problematic.
He said many residents believe deported people are automatically criminals.
“I have met people who have been sent home for three drunken driving charges; people who have families, skills, and who have been educated,” he said.
“I think that where we fail is integrating people into our national development programmess with some very important skills that we don’t utilise, because we hear their voice and we say ‘oh you are a deportee’ and we stigmatise them like that.”

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