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Too many illegal Brits in Ja - UK official

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
John Smith

The British Government has raised concern that too many of its nationals are in Jamaica illegally.

John Smith, North America and Caribbean consular regional director at the British Embassy in Washington, told The Gleaner that many Brits who reside in Jamaica are failing to keep their immigration status up to date.

Smith told The Gleaner that there is a "prevalence" of cases being brought to his attention.

"I see a number of cases," asserted Smith. "If you overstay as a British national, you will be subjected to the local laws, and rightly so."

The high commission in Jamaica revealed that 177,000 British nationals visited Jamaica last year.

It noted that 274 consular cases were opened and 219 emergency travel documents issued.

Smith said his compatriots are not even aware that new passports can only be accessed online from London.

"Passports are accessed online and no longer at the high commission in Jamaica or any other country, like the old days," said Smith.

"Stop assuming that you can come to the local office and get a British passport," he said. "If your passport is not valid, understand that the process is done online."




Smith said the delinquency on the part of numerous British nationals who are picked up by the local authorities in Jamaica is mainly because of the historical links between the two countries.

"People misunderstand and come here and want to stay because of the heritage," said Smith. "That clearly is not the case, but there are a number of such cases in which we get involved with Brits who are not up to date about immigration requirements."

He added: "Don't get yourself in that situation, respect the law of the country."