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Amnesty for people living illegally in Jamaica — Montague

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — 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 people living illegally in Jamaica.

Montague said this 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 legal) Jamaican citizens,” the minister said.

He was speaking at a swearing-in ceremony at the Police Officers' Club in St Andrew today for 47 foreign nationals who have been granted Jamaican citizenship.

The ceremony was hosted by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).

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.

The minister pointed out that other countries have extended this 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”.

“Jamaicans have gone elsewhere and benefited from the opportunity to formalise their citizenship. It is now time for Jamaica to offer those on her shores the same opportunity,” Montague emphasised.

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