St. Maarten Justice Minister announces immigration policy revamps

POSTED: 01/5/12 1:12 PM

Gaps to be tackled

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan confirmed Wednesday he’s awaiting word back from the Council of Advice on changes he’s making to policies stemming from the Law on Admission and Expulsion (LTU). The revamps include revising the provisions on whether a gap period can be held against migrants and beginning to charge for services delivered by the Justice Ministry.

The charges will apply to licenses, excerpts of licenses, police records and residence permits. The planned fee for the latter service is a 900 guilder processing fee for residence permits that is totally separate from the fee for acquiring an employment permit.

Another of the essential points is dealing with the gaps that people have in their residence permits and the bearing that has on people’s ability to apply for permanent residence or for Dutch nationality.

“When you apply for permanent residence or Dutch nationality you are required to show that you have five consecutive years of living here without gaps. This is not wholly fair or true and it’s been used to short change people. In fact sometimes the government is at fault by not responding on time or where the person is not fault because the applications were not submitted on time,” Duncan said.

Two examples he gave of late submissions are employers who file renewal requests too late and husbands who have the Dutch nationality that do not file for their wives on time. The minister also wants to give consideration to children whose parents reside here legally and who for one reason or another the parents fail to file on time.

All of these updates are coming as part of a total review of the immigration laws and policies that the minister found when he came to office on October 10, 2010.

“Basically what I’m doing is revisiting and rewriting all the instructions to the Lt. Governor’s from the Justice Ministers of the Antilles. I’m trying to see the logic and if they fit,” Duncan said.


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