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Amnesty for persons living illegally in Jamaica

Published:Friday | December 15, 2017 | 3:27 PM

National Security Minister, Robert Montague says the government will be embarking on an amnesty in early 2018 aimed at regularising the status of some 15,000 to 20,000 persons living illegally in Jamaica.

He said the decision follows a recent submission he made to Cabinet on the matter.

“We have many persons who came here illegally. They have lived here, married and have children and grandchildren, and have never sorted out their status. We want to give them an opportunity to become Jamaican citizens,” Montague said.

He was speaking at a swearing-in ceremony, hosted by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency at the Police Officers’ Club in St. Andrew on Thursday for 47 foreign nationals who have been granted Jamaican citizenship.

Montague noted that there are many foreigners who, although living illegally in Jamaica for some time, have nonetheless contributed significantly to Jamaica’s development.

“(But) they have never sorted out their documents, and we want to give them that opportunity to become permanent residents and use this as a step towards (gaining) citizenship,” he added.

Montague pointed out that other countries have extended that gesture to Jamaicans and in this regard “it is the least we can do for those who have helped to build this economy and nation but, somehow, have never sorted out their documents.”