“Most illegals are in the hospitality industry” Controls on illegal employees begin

POSTED: 01/20/13 7:52 PM

St. Maarten – The mobile unit of the Immigration and Naturalization service IND will step up controls at companies in the search for employees without work permits. Per violation of the law, employers may expect a 5,000 guilders fine.

During a brief press conference at the IND-building on Illidge road, the head of the mobile unit, Geronimo Juliet said that the controls will be conducted together with the labor department and the department of public health and social affairs.
Health inspector Earl Best said that the controls are about enforcing legislation that applies to the employment of foreign workers. “We will check the documents at employers for employees, especially those for whom permits are needed,” he said.

Labor inspector Andrew Budike said that the controls will send the message to employers that they need to have the work permits for foreign employees in place.
“We will also be looking for child labor and labor by youth,” he added. “The period of warnings is now over and we will start to issue fines to those who violate the law.”
Juliet confirmed that employers who fail to pay the fine run the risk of being prosecuted.
Project coordinator Albert Thomas said that the control teams will take no chances. “We want to make sure that workers have their papers. They should carry them with them, just like their driver’s license.”
“Most employers have illegal workers,” Budike said. “They have to wait off-island until their papers are in order.”

Asked about the level of cooperation he expects from companies, Budike said that some employers are “reluctant to cooperate,” adding that in that case employers will have to be advised about how to comply.
Budike said that the highest level if illegal employees are to be found in the hospitality industry. Illegal workers will be deported at the expense of their employers, Juliette said. “The price of the tickets will not be for the account of the government.”
The mobile unit will detain illegal employees at the police station in Philipsburg. Though the detention capacity for these cases is limited, Juliet does not expect any problems from this angle. Depending on the nature of the controls, the department will deploy teams of between 10 and 25 officers. Deported employees are banned from the island for a period of three years.

Asked about the control on work permits for visiting artists, Juliette said that they will need a work permit if they come to the island for at least three months and perform in different places. If they come for one-time performances the requirement for a work permit is waived.

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