PERSONS CHARGED WITH HARBOURING

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services, in collaboration with the Immigration Department would like to advise the general public that Haitian National, Neltha Jean-Francois Hosse, was charged and taken before the Magistrate Court on Providenciales to answer to the offence of harbouring in accordance with Section 106 of the Immigration Ordinance Revised 2018. She has resided within these Islands for several years.

Ms. Hosse pleaded guilty to two (2) offences of harbouring illegal immigrants and was fined US$1,000.00 for each offence. The Court gave her seven (7) days within which to pay the fine, failing which she would be imprisoned. Payment became due on March 21, 2020, which she paid. The Court also recommended deportation at the end of the sentence. The right to appeal was also explained to Ms. Hosse.

On 11th September, 2020, Ms. Hosse was issued with the Deportation Order and subsequently deported to Haiti on Monday 28th September, 2020.

The public is reminded that a person who is found to be in contravention of the Immigration Ordinance and commits an offence of harbouring is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $20,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of four years, or to both.

In addition, the Enforcement Unit within the Immigration Department also arrested and charged four Dominican nationals and one Columbian national, for remaining in the Islands beyond the permitted time.

These persons were taken before the Magistrate’s Court where they pleaded guilty for the mentioned offence.

The Court has recommended: Deportation for three of these individuals in addition to a fine, the other two were given seven (7) days to leave the Islands, where their names will be added to the Stop List of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

During the year 2019, a total of (103) cases were taken before the Courts by the Enforcement Unit compared with (77) cases the previous year.

Honourable Vaden Delroy Williams, Minister with responsibility for the Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship and Employment Services in commenting on the matter stated: “that with our borders now re-opened, I take this opportunity to remind the General Public once again, that in accordance with Section 32 and 33 of the Immigration Ordinance of the 2018 Revised Laws of Turks and Caicos, permits are authorized by the Director of Immigrations, the Board or Commissioner of Labour, for persons to reside or engage in gainful occupations and these permits are issued with conditions or restrictions set out therein.“

The public is further reminded of the following Immigration offences:

In accordance with Section 102 (d) of the Immigration Ordinance of the 2018 Revised Laws of Turks and Caicos, it is an offence to remain within the Islands beyond the time permitted by an Immigration Officer.

A person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of two years, or to both; and if the offence is a continuing one, to a further fine not exceeding $100 for every day or part of a day on which the offence has continued.

A person commits an offence in accordance with section 19 (1) (g) and (2) of the prescribed ordinance, which states that a person shall not engage in any gainful occupation in the islands unless in the possession of a valid permit issued under section 31,39 or 40, which a person shall not employ whether on his own behalf or on behalf of another person whether under a contract of employment or a contract for services who under subsection (1) is prohibited from engaging in any gainful occupation.

Employers are to note that if you terminate a work permit holder during the period of airport closure or any other time, you are still responsible for the individual until it is possible for that person or persons, to leave the country.

Employers must also ensure that they are in full compliance with section 106 (2) of the Employment Ordinance, by ensuring that their employee/s are still in housing until they depart the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Self-employed, and employed persons are reminded of their obligation to adhere to the conditions of their Work Permits as imposed by the Immigration Board.  Anyone who fails to comply with the conditions contained within their Work Permits in accordance with Regulations 35 and 42 commits an offence and is subject to prosecution.

Hon. Williams went on to say: “I want to make it clear, that if you fall within any of the following categories, please leave the Turks and Caicos Islands as soon as possible or face the consequences of your actions.” These categories are:

  1. Persons whose work permit has expired and the current employer does not intend to renew;
  2. Persons whose work permit has been cancelled;
  3. Persons who are currently unemployed, and will be unemployed for several months after the curfew has been lifted;
  4. If your temporary work permit has expired;
  5. Persons whose visitor’s visa has expired and you remained in the country illegally;

In closing, the Hon. Williams reiterated that our borders and that of many other countries are opened to international air traffic, all persons residing and or working in the Turks and Caicos Islands illegally should make plans to return to their home country or to any other country, which would welcome them or face legal consequences for their actions.

The prime responsibility of the Enforcement Unit is to increase compliance with the Immigration Law of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its enforcement operations, the Unit is responsible for the investigation, detection and prosecution of Immigration offenders and breaches of the law.

The Enforcement Unit continues to partner with the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, Customs Department, Planning Department, Business Licence and the Department of Employment in joint operations to regulate migration in line with government policy. Such joint operations continue to yield valuable intelligence and have resulted in arrests for various offences.

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services is appealing to the public to assist with any information that could lead to the apprehension and arrest in similar instances and thank the public for its support over the years.

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services Department, would like to thank everyone in advance for their full cooperation and continued compliance.