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Legal Interpretation of Public Health Order on Mandatory Vaccination

The Customer Service Department, in conjunction with the Employment Service Department, Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment & Customer Service, wishes to advise the general public of the correct legal application of the recently published Public Health Order on the mandatory vaccination.

On June 28th 2021, the Cabinet approved the “Policy to Promote Vaccination among Migrant Population within the Turks and Caicos Islands.” The Policy mandated that all persons within the Islands that are Residence Permit Holders, Spousal Residency Permit, Work Permit Holders, Government Stamp Holders and their dependencies above the age 12 years’ old who are seeking to renew their permit had to be vaccinated by 31st August 2021.

This policy was later further revised and overridden by the introduction of the Public & Environmental Health (Covid-19 vaccination Requirements) Order 2021 which was published in the Gazette and came into effect as of 1st August 2021.

Paragraph 4(1) of the Public and Environmental Health Order provides for a person applying to the appropriate authority for any of the following must provide documentary proof that he or his dependent, as the case may be, has received the COVID-19 vaccine and is fully vaccinated —

(a) a Work Permit or the extension or renewal of a Work Permit;

(b) a Permanent Residence Certificate;

(c) a Residence Permit;

(d) to have the stamp known as “the Government stamp” placed in his passport (contract officers); or

(e) to have the name of a dependent, who is over the age of twelve years, endorsed on his permit or certificate.

Paragraph 4(2) further provides that where any of the following applications:

(a) for the renewal or extension of a Work Permit; or

(b) to have the stamp known as “the Government stamp” placed in a passport (contract officers),

had been made but not determined before the commencement of the Order on August 1, 2021, the person concerned must provide documentary proof to the appropriate authority that he is fully vaccinated before the permit is issued or the stamp is placed in the passport, as the case may be.

Paragraph 4(2) also provides that in the case of an application for the renewal or extension of a Work Permit, the applicant must also provide proof that he was fully vaccinated on or before 31 August 2021.

Therefore, the requirement to provide proof of full vaccination by 31st August 2021 relates only to those applications for the renewal or extension of a Work Permit that were made but not determined before the commencement of this Order on August 1, 2021.

Paragraph 4(2) does not prohibit the making of applications for work permit renewals or extensions after 31st July 2021, although those applications would have to comply with the requirement of paragraph 4(1) to show proof of full vaccination.

The Ministry, having consulted with the Office of the Attorney General, wants to be clear in advising the General Public; that in the Public Health Order the ability to provide proof of being fully vaccinated after the submission of an application ONLY applies to work permit applications for renewals which were in hand (with the Customer Services Department or Department of Employment Services) before 1st August 2021 when the Order was Published.

As such, ALL APPLICATIONS for renewal of work permit which are submitted to the Department of Customer Services from the 1st of August 2021 must at the time that the application is submitted show documentary proof of being fully vaccinated.

Similarly, employees on Government Contract, including teachers that were not vaccinated and did not submit an application before 1st August 2021 to the Immigration Department for a Government Stamp, can submit their application and be approved for the stamp, provided they are now fully vaccinated.

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