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Border Control & Labour restructure progressing PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Richard Green/richard@fptci.com   
Thursday, 27 October 2011 11:38

The Ministry of Border Control and Labour is being divided into three departments to better deal with border control, employment services, and citizenship and permanent resident status, according to an Oct. 26 government press release.

A new Border Control and Enforcement Department aims to strengthen border protection with a stronger intelligence base, enhanced passenger profiling and improved partnership with police and customs. The new but not yet operational coastal radar system, delayed by a lack of funding, is expected to be brought online in April.

The Turks and Caicos Islands government will soon be advertising for a permanent radar programme manager to oversee 24-hour operation of the system that can detect illegal migrant sloops and poaching fishermen up to 22 miles away, as well as aiding in marine search and rescue.

Ten illegal Haitian immigrants escaped from the Five Cays detention center on Providenciales sometime between Sept. 24-25. Security at the facility is handled by a private company, but government is seeking a new contract and discussing with the owner assurances to comply with minimum standards. Government also is considering a long term multi-purpose detention centre.

The ministry’s enforcement and compliance staff are being brought together into a single unit that will emphasize employer compliance and develop a systematic approach to deporting people who are here illegally. A new law will be passed to make trafficking in human beings a specific criminal offence with stringent penalties.

Also, foreign nationals requiring visas will have to apply at U.K. posts overseas, with applications decided by a visa referral unit in the TCI.

An Employment Services Department will launch new job placement services in November for the unemployed and work with employers and employees to match people to vacant posts. Employment Officers will be located downstairs in Sam’s building on Providenciales.

Labour clearance and work permit procedures will be streamlined with the help of customers and staff input, and new policies will be published. A new work permit fee system and increased fees were scheduled to be in place Oct. 1, but that has been postponed and is under review.

To deal with citizenship, permanent status and civil registration, the ministry will develop a paper for the Advisory Council on options for new criteria for Permanent Resident Certificates and a fair and transparent process to become a Turks and Caicos Islander with the right to vote, a process that will include public consultation.

There will also be discussions with other government departments, the Human Rights Commissioner and community groups about which documentary evidence is acceptable to confirm the facts in order for births outside of a hospital to be registered.

The changes in the ministry are being led by Permanent Secretary Clara Gardiner, Under Secretaries Sharon Taylor and Willette Swan, and Commissioner of Labour Michelle Fulford-Gardiner. Supporting them is U.K. Senior Immigration Adviser Lorraine Rogerson, plus two change managers Simon Excell, for Border Control and Enforcement, and Kerstin Thompson, for Policy and Casework, both of whom provide advice, mentoring and training.

 

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