The term limits of the Immigration Law of 2003 are intended to come into operation after some seven years of residence.
It is felt that this amount of time would be sufficient for everyone, the business concerned and the work permit holder himself, to put into effect succession planning.
So why is the application of these limits causing much distress at this time?
I believe the chief factor, and one that has largely been overlooked, is that we now, in March 2006, have had a period of between two and three years since the legislation came into effect, and this, coupled with the Ivan factor, has just not been enough time to make the necessary plans.
The law as it stands takes no account of the fact that by its own promulgation it radically changed the circumstances of work permit holders, not at the beginning of their residence here, but when some had already been here for a good portion of the seven years.
I suggest that the best way of rectifying this defect would be to add a section of the law that would provide for grandfathering in those who were already here when the law came into effect, so that the seven year period for those workers would in fact start seven years after the law came into effect, rather than after seven years of their own residence.
If we do not take such steps, there is certain retroactivity about the law that acts harshly upon these workers and their employers, because neither was given the period of warning that the present law itself envisages.
To rectify this would breach no principle that the law is attempting to uphold.
(The Rev’d) Nicholas Sykes