NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – Premier Hon. Mark Brantley says the amnesty for arrears of payment for work permits, annual residency and visa extensions which took effect today, Friday, July 01, 2022, is intended to bring relief to the non-national community living and working in Nevis.
The amnesty, which the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) announced in June 2022, allows non-nationals on the island who are in arrears for work permits and residencies to pay a flat fee of $1500 for the outstanding time in its entirety up to December 31, 2019. There will be no charge for the years 2020 and 2021. The amnesty also reduces the fee for work permits by 60 percent and residencies by 50 percent for a period of three months.
During his monthly press conference on June 30, 2022, Premier Brantley encouraged non-nationals to seize the opportunity to get themselves regularized.
“We are saying to those individuals who have been here and not had a work permit or have not regularized themselves for some years, we are asking you to come in now and to pay a flat fee of $1500…get your stamps, get regularized and then you will not have to pay for 2020 or 2021. Going forward for 2022 instead of the $2500, you’ll pay $1000 [for work permits] and for residency instead of the $1500 you’ll pay $750. I don’t think that you could ask for a better deal than that.
“So non-nationals please come in and take the opportunity to get yourself regularized. Get your work permit, get the stamps in your passport, regularize yourself so noone can take advantage of you because you don’t have your proper status. We don’t want that here, and this is a government that is prepared to work with people. We feel that that is our obligation, particularly our Caribbean brothers and sisters. So whether you are from Guyana, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, wherever you are from, you’re living here now, you’re contributing here, we want you to come in and regularize you status and so we are asking you to do that and do that urgently.
“We want people living here to be comfortable. We think that as a government we have an obligation to all who live here, but we also want people who are living here to abide by the law, and that for us is also important.”
The amnesty is scheduled to end on September 30, 2022, after which the fees revert to the original cost. Persons who have already paid full cost on their work permits and residencies will be exempted from payment in 2023.
The Premier also announced additional relief for non-nationals already living and working in Nevis. He said the NIA Cabinet has refined the policy implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic where proof of vaccination was required for non-nationals to renew work permits and residencies.
“I know it was a controversial decision at the time but it was a decision that we took because we thought it was a necessary decision to protect us and to protect the island. We again have listened and we are also aware that the situation that existed when we took that decision is no longer the situation, and so I would want to announce today, again to the non-national community living on Nevis, that effective Friday, July 01 all of you who are living here, and this is important, prior to July 01, that effective from July 01, submission of proof of vaccination will no longer be required when applying for work permit or residency. However, this is important, all non-nationals arriving into Nevis and moving here for the first time to take up residence or to work, will require proof of vaccination.”
Mr. Brantley pointed out that in the past the government approach to non-nationals was to “round them up and deport them”, however, his Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM)-led administration has consistently held the position and demonstrated that non-nationals are to be treated humanely and with respect and courtesy.