Antigua & Barbuda immigration amnesty period could be extended

Antigua & Barbuda immigration amnesty
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Antigua & Barbuda immigration amnesty period could be extended

The Antigua & Barbuda government has acknowledged that it could be forced to extend the ongoing immigration amnesty period – or install more immigration officers – if it is to offer the opportunity to all affected residents.

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Foreign Affairs Minister, EP Chet Greene, made that revelation in Parliament yesterday, following several reports that the appointment section of the process has already reached capacity just two weeks in. 

“Based on the uptake of the amnesty offer, I anticipate that we will have to look seriously at an extension of the period. Already, we’re seeing [that] the Immigration Department allows for walk-in applicants and for appointments, [but] they’ve exhausted every appointment hour between now and the end of April.

“So, if we agree that we’re going to go back to the original intention of extending amnesty to all the persons affected, it means that – with the period remaining already booked out – we will have to look seriously and critically at either increasing the number of officers at the Immigration Department, extending the period for amnesty, or a combination of [both],” Greene declared.

The amnesty is currently scheduled to run from March 1 to April 30 and, according to the government, the Immigration Department has been processing an average of 80 persons per day.

There were long lines at the Immigration Department yesterday, where some people told Observer they had been waiting for more than four hours just to submit an application form – the first step in the process.

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A host of Jamaicans, Guyanese, Dominicans and people from the Dominican Republic were among those attempting to get their status regularised, and tempers became frayed as the sun beat down, with many expressing frustration with the lengthy wait.

Due to the sheer number of prospective applicants, the staff eventually took names and told people to return on Wednesday afternoon to try again.

Government could be prompted to extend immigration amnesty period  Antigua Observer

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