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During a recent Cabinet meeting the Chief Immigration Officer and other members of her department, as well as the Labour Commissioner and her Deputy, and the Permanent Secretary in the Passport Office along with her Deputy, were invited to discuss the granting of amnesty to CARICOM citizens and citizens of the Dominican Republic who may have failed to maintain lawful residency in the country.
It was clarified that immigrants who have spent four or more years in Antigua and Barbuda are entitled to lawful residency.
The Cabinet members agreed that granting amnesty to immigrants who have not paid their renewal dues would cure their deficiency, putting them on the path to citizenship after spending a total of seven years in the country.
However, the interpretation of the administrators was different, requiring immigrants to continue paying fees until they have crossed the seven-year line and can present a valid certificate of residency with their application for citizenship.
After intense discussions, the Cabinet and the administrators agreed that a grant of amnesty would serve as sufficient proof of an immigrant’s “lawful presence,” which would be indicated by the Amnesty Certificate.
Therefore, there would be no need for immigrants granted amnesty to apply multiple times.
The Cabinet also discussed the cancellation of work permits for citizens of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic employed in Antigua and Barbuda, starting from January 1, 2024.
It was clarified that there would be no work permit fee, but immigrants would need to pay a $100 administrative fee for the processing of their request to seek employment in the country.