|Council briefs: Immigration, citizenship, employment top issues|
|Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:14|
Permanent Secretary for Border Control and Labour Clara Gardiner gave the Advisory Council an update on continuing efforts to improve service delivery and to address issues related to immigration, employment and citizenship at its meeting June 22.
The council was briefed further on the ministry’s plans for a number of key change and reform activities in 2011-12 under its three main areas of business: Border Control and Enforcement; Employment Services; and Civil Registration — Citizenship and Permanent Status.
Labour working to improve local employment services
Labour Commissioner Michelle Fulford-Gardiner told the governor’s Advisory Council of continuing plans to improve the country’s employment services for local residents and for labour clearances and work permits.
The improvements are aimed at enhanced clarity for staff and customers; and promoting healthier and more constructive partnerships. The commissioner highlighted that the main role of the new Employment Services department was to work with employers to ensure that Turks and Caicos Islanders had access to sustainable employment and training opportunities, as well as streamlining the processing of labour clearance and work permits.
The Employment Services department is scheduled, with the Immigration Board and other public sector stakeholders, to hold a meeting with the Hotel and Tourism Association in Providenciales early next month.
Council members were pleased to hear that the private sector was actively working with the ministry in addressing the issue of employment of Turks and Caicos Islanders, and requested an update at a future meeting.
New Belongership, PRC process under consideration
Council members also discussed some of the key principles to be addressed in developing clear and transparent processes for the acquisition of Belonger (Turks and Caicos Islander) status, including revised criteria for PRC and other related matters.
It was agreed that a set of options for wider consultation should be brought back for consideration at an early opportunity.
Fees, charges to go up, especially traffic offenses
The council discussed a Miscellaneous Amendment Bill which would allow a number of existing fees and charges to be increased to reflect inflation since they were last set a decade or more ago.
Council endorsed these increases, and recommended steeper increases for penalties in relation to Road Traffic Regulations. These were designed to encourage greater compliance and ensure the safety of road users.
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