Migrant influx steady in 2011

POSTED: 07/9/12 12:29 PM

St. Maarten – The majority of requests for residence permits in 2011 were linked to family unification and to the acquisition of employment permits. This is revealed by figures that Head of the Immigration and Naturalization Department Udo Aron presented recently. The third most stated reason is requests for permanent residence.
“Roughly 20 percent of all applications in 2011 were new requests and just under 80 percent is renewals. This shows that there is a stable influx. Most of the requests are for family reunification, followed by requests linked to a person’s employment,” Aron said.
According to Aron’s figures 2, 646 people applied for a permit for a family member in the year 2011. That’s 32 percent of all applications. In the first quarter of 2012 there were already 723 applications for family reunification.
Some 2, 243 people applied for residence permits in 2012 as part of the process to obtain a work permit. They constitute 27 percent of the total applicants for that entire year. In the first quarter of 2012 there have already been 401 requests linked to applications for employment permits.
Some 1, 151 people applied for permanent residence in 2011. They are 14 percent of all applications submitted. By the end of the first quarter of 2012 some 299 applications for permanent residence had been submitted.
The remaining categories of requests do not come above the figure of 800. The closest category is applications for short stays (797), requests for a director’s license (536) and extension after five years of employment (535). In the first quarter of 2012 the figures show 178 applications for short stays, 107 applications for director’s licenses and 153 requests for after five years of employment.
Some 137 foreign pensioners filed for permits to reside here, 110 people filed requests related to naturalization and 105 people used other unspecified services. The figures in these categories for the first quarter of 2012 are 41 for pensioners who wish to reside here, 208 requests for naturalization and 33 requests for other unspecified services.
The absolute total number of requests in 2011 was 8, 260 and the absolute total number of requests in the first quarter of 2012 was 2, 143.

Aron’s figures also show that the vast majority of requests that the Department of Immigration and Naturalization got in 2011 was for renewals of existing permits (5, 911). The second largest category was first requests (1,798). The department also handled 438 requests for application of the law on guardianship and 113 requests for changes in a person’s permit.

Improved processing time
The Immigration and Naturalization Department is also getting better at how fast it processes requests. By the end of the first quarter of 2012 it had handled 69.5 percent of submitted requests within two months. It has also handled 22.8 percent of the requests within one month. The figures for applications submitted in the fourth quarter of 2011 are less rosy. Only 9.6 percent of those applications were handled within a month, 17 percent were handled within two months, 23. 5 percent was handled in three months and 31.3 percent were finalized four months after they were submitted. There was no data in Aron’s recent report on the status of the remaining 18.6 percent of applications submitted in the last quarter of 2011.

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