Citing several threatening scenarios to national security, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government has placed a six-month moratorium on the issuing of visas for Haitian Nationals beginning immediately until July 10.
In a news release, the government stated it has observed what it called ‘triggers’, in Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands, forcing the authorities to make the visa stop order.
Among them are:
· An increase number of irregular migrants attempting to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) over the last year illegally and clandestinely;
· Upsurge in violent crimes in Haiti;
· Upsurge in violent crimes in the TCI;
· Number of persons repatriated and deported to Haiti recently:
· Rise in communicable and infectious diseases in Haiti (cholera etc.);
· Hiring of illegal immigrants and persons not authorized to work in the TCI by unscrupulous employers; and
· Noticeable propensity of persons arriving in the islands who are violating the terms of their visitor’s visa by overstaying and engaged in gainful occupation.
“A decision was taken by the Government of the TCI to place a moratorium on visitors’ visas starting immediately and for the next six months. This decision will be enforced by the Visa and Immigration Department and is yet another means by which the government continues to protect the lawful population of the TCI,” the news release said.
However, the government pointed out that all applications prior to the 11th January 2023 will be honored and processed in what it referred to as ‘the usual way’.
“No new application will be accepted by the Customer Service Department during this period which ends on 10th July 2023. The MIBS will continue to keep these triggers under Constant review,” the news release continued.
Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services referred to the move as regrettable, but stated that it has become a necessary national security measure.
“This measure has to be taken,” Minister Musgrove said.
“But I gave my assurance that my government will do all that is necessary to protect our beautiful islands. My government remains committed to protecting our borders and the good people of the TCI,” he further noted.
Musgrove assured that the moratorium would be kept under constant review and visa issuance will be restored when the authorities are convinced that the risks are minimized.
In the meantime, the government is urging persons with information about any immigration or customs offences to report them, noting that reports can be done anonymously via Crime stoppers by calling 1-800-8477 or directly and anonymously to HIS, online at https://www.ice.gov/tipline, or by phone at 1-866-347-2423