Illegal migrants have chance to leave

The Department of Immigration has announced
an amnesty from prosecution for certain immigration offences. The amnesty
becomes effective from 1 July 2010 and will remain in effect until 1 August
2010 inclusive.

According to the department, the
terms of the amnesty are as follows:

*People who are residing illegally
in the Cayman Islands, i.e., individuals without a valid work permit or any
other lawful permission to remain in the Islands,
may leave the Territory during the period of the amnesty without fear of prosecution.

*Employers may cancel work permits
for employees for whom they have no work without fear of prosecution. The employee
in question will then be expected to leave the Territory before the expiry of
the amnesty.

*Similarly, employees who are
employed on a  valid work permit but
whose employers no longer have full-time employment for them may cancel their
work permit and leave the Territory before the expiry of the amnesty without
fear of prosecution.

*Those not sure of their Immigration
status in the Cayman Islands should go to the
Enforcement Section of the Immigration Department where checks will be carried
out to determine the legality of the person.

After this
amnesty period has expired, the Immigration Department together with other law
enforcements agencies plans to actively pursue those persons who have not taken
advantage of this amnesty and who are continuing to commit immigration offences.
Such persons will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and deportation
will be recommended where appropriate.

The maximum
penalty for overstaying is a fine of CI$20,000 and imprisonment of up to five
years, and the penalties for work permit offences range from fines between
CI$5,000 and CI$15,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.

How it works

According to
the Immigration Department, people who are in the Islands
illegally and who wish to avail themselves of the amnesty should simply make an
airline reservation and leave during the amnesty period. Employers and/or employees who wish to cancel work permits must
submit a letter to the Department of Immigration marked “Amnesty”, informing
the Chief Immigration Officer of their wish to cancel the work permit(s).

Employees whose work permits have
been cancelled either by employers or by themselves should report immediately
to the Immigration Headquarters with confirmed reservations for their departure
during the amnesty period. The employee’s passport would then be endorsed for a
specific time to facilitate departure from the Islands
during the amnesty period.

“I urge those
who are in a position to take advantage of this amnesty to do so,” Chief
Immigration Officer Linda Evans said. “Those who forego this opportunity will
be making a serious error of judgment and can expect to face serious consequences.” 

“Every day we
hear countless complaints about immigration offences being committed and the
effect that this has on our Territory. This is a golden opportunity for Caymanian
employers to play a part in reducing immigration crime in their country and I expect
that they will act responsibly and turn in work permits for employees that they
no longer can provide work for.”


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