The Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a public consultation to gather input and feedback on proposed amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance.
The consultation, which started on June 5th and will run until June 23rd, 2023. will seek to capture views regarding the treatment of dependents of persons granted Islander status, treatment of dependents of persons with Islander status by descent, DNA testing of all applicants, and the introduction of evaluation criteria for Islander status through Grant.
The Following is the information regarding the process:
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government seeks to adopt the following changes to the Turks and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance (“the Ordinance”):
• Proposals for the treatment of dependents of persons granted Islander status
• Proposals for the treatment of dependents of persons with Islander status by descent
• Proposals for the DNA testing of all applicants
• Proposals for the introduction of the evaluation criteria
These changes will ensure that the Ordinance is amended to capture loopholes that were realized and to make sure that there is a modern, transparent, and fair process in place that has a predefined protocol for the treatment of applications.
The Turk and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance, Sections 12 and 13 establishes a Turks and Caicos Islander Status Commission with the responsibility of reviewing applications for the grant of Islander Status, otherwise than by marriage, and for making recommendations to the Governor for the grant of such status.
In reviewing such applications, sections 4(7) and 4(9) of the Ordinance require the Commission to consider whether or not an applicant meets any prescribed criteria, as may be set by the Governor, as guidelines for the evaluation of the degree to which an applicant’s personal and professional attributes proves valuable to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This approach will clearly outline the needs and requirements of the Islands for persons seeking to obtain permanent status as a Turks and Caicos Islander.
Similar point and merit-based systems are currently being used by a number of countries throughout the region and the wider world to regulate and coordinate the composition and growth of their populations in order to meet and satisfy the economic and immigration needs and goals of their nations.
Regarding the issue of dependants and their transition to becoming a Turks and Caicos Islander, there are gaps in the Ordinance that do not speak to dependents of persons granted Islander status, and children (whether dependant or older) of persons who received their Islander Status by descent where the existing provisions in the Ordinance do not qualify their child to acquire Islander status.
Currently, the dependant child of a person granted by marriage does not automatically get the status of his or her parent but instead has to apply separately to the Commission for the same status as the parent. There is no provision for the dependant child of a parent who was granted otherwise than by marriage.
So, the intention is to find a pathway for these children that fall into any of the categories mentioned above.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Transportation, Broadcasting, Energy & Utilities, and Telecommunications Commission, therefore invites the public to review and provide feedback on the draft amendments by reviewing the documents as well as undertaking a survey (link provided below).
The key outcomes of the new system will be:
• Better identifying and attracting persons who have contributed and continue to contribute to the Turks and Caicos Islands;
• A more efficient, transparent, and objective evaluation process that is aligned with the Ordinance; and
• Improved compliance with guidelines and reduced scope for abuse.
Purpose of survey
The survey seeks to gain an understanding of those qualities and values that the public deems to be most beneficial to the long-term development and growth of the population in regard to persons meeting the qualification to be granted Turks and Caicos Islander Status.
The survey seeks to rank those values that the public deems as the priorities to be considered in an evaluation process.
The survey will also seek the view as to whether the need for DNA test submission should be a prerequisite for application.
Likewise, the survey will seek to capture your views on the treatment of dependant children of persons granted Islander Status. i.e. What should be the process for them to obtain status?
Finally, the survey will seek to capture your views on the treatment of children (whether dependant or older) of persons with Islander Status by descent. i.e. How would a generational child of an Islander transition to status if he/she falls outside the threshold that the Ordinance currently provides for?
These are children or persons who would not fall within the current provisions of persons born outside the Island, that is their parent being Turks and Caicos Islander, but having no connection to a parent or grandparent born in the Islands, or not qualifying through the settlement provision as they have been living outside the Islands beyond what it provided for the settlement provision.
The question is if they return to the Islands what legal status, either Islander status or immigration status can be provided for these children?
It is acknowledged that our borders are open for Turks and Caicos Islanders in the diaspora to return home, but in the absence of legal status for their children to stay in the Islands, what can be done for these children?
It is pointed out that some of these children may be dependants who cannot be left in the diaspora while their parent returns home, and they are older children (18 years and over) who can also be considered. The proposal is that these children be given Immigration status through a resident permit of ten years, but subject to them acquiring DNA tests to prove the link to their TCI parent.
Three weeks starting June 5th to June 23rd, 2023.
• The draft Regulations will be online and accessible through the link provided:
• The Consultation paper and the draft Regulations will also be printed and distributed at the District Commissioners’ offices on the Family Islands and at the Ministry in the Grand Turk and Providenciales offices for persons without online access.
• Persons will be able to write their opinions and send them to the following email address:
• Persons who are unable to email their opinion can drop off a hard copy in a sealed envelope with the heading “TCI Status Consultation” to the District Commissioners’ offices on the Family Islands or to the Ministry of Home Affairs Offices on Providenciales or Grand Turk.
• The Survey will be strictly online and accessible through the link provided in a subsequent email.
The targeted audience is Residents, BOTC status holders, and Turks and Caicos Islanders.