Immigration fine collections are up

The Immigration Department has collected some $90,000 in fines for various breaches of the Immigration Law.

This is what Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson told Bodden Town residents on Wednesday at the Immigration District Evening public meeting. Bodden Town’s meeting was the first in the series, with meetings scheduled for other districts throughout September. District evenings were held in Cayman Brac and West Bay in January.

The $90,000 is the most ever collected by the department, representing a 325 per cent increase over 2007’s collection of $27,625.

Mr. Manderson said the increase in revenue from fines is evidence that changes to the law, and the department’s tougher enforcement stance, are paying off. The fines relate to offences including overstaying, working without a permit and employing staff without a permit, states a GIS press release.

Late last year, amendments to the Immigration Law permitted the department to impose administrative fines for certain breaches of the work permit and border control laws, instead of every case having to be referred to the Court as previously prescribed, Mr Manderson said.

‘We are pleased that the administrative fines are achieving the purpose for which they were intended, that is, to speed up the time its takes to dispose of immigration cases while preserving offenders’ rights to have their cases ventilated in the Courts.

Reporting on other activities at the department, Mr Manderson said that following the conviction of two persons for illegally landing in the Islands the Court recently confiscated a go-fast boat used by the two to illegally transport migrants between Cuba and Cayman. Mr Manderson welcomed the decision of the Court and said that he believed that the Court’s decision will act as a strong deterrent to others.

He also disclosed plans for the department to export the country’s borders by screening persons before they land on Cayman soil. ‘We want to ensure that people are legitimately coming to Cayman for the right reasons, before they actually get here,’ Mr. Manderson said.

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