New Gov’t registration policy to benefit Venezuelans
Come next month, Venezuelans, including those who are here in Trinidad and Tobago illegally, will be given a two week amnesty to get registered.
The initiative titled the Migrant Registration Framework will be led by the Ministry of National Security in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Children’s Authority.
Minister of National Security Stuart Young said after a “useful and robust” discussion at Finance and General Purposes Committee, Cabinet today (April 11, 2019) decided to go ahead with the registration of Venezuelans who are in this country. He made the disclosure at the Post-Cabinet media briefing.
Venezuelan immigrants, including those who are currently at the Immigration Detention Centre will have the opportunity to register during a 14-day period from May 31to June 14 at offices in Port of Spain, San Fernando, Cedros, Arima and Scarborough during the hours 7am to 5pm.
At these offices, applicants will be assisted by a translator to fill out forms, in which they will be required to provide their local address and contact numbers, among other information. They will also have their photographs taken, provide biometrics, fingerprints and undergo a medical examination.
Minister Young noted that Venezuelans will also be required to swear to a statutory declaration that the information given is accurate. He warned that false information will not be treated lightly and will lead to deportation.
Once approved, applicants will receive a work permit exemption valid for one year. Their status, however, will be assessed after the first six months, following which they will either be denied or granted approval to continue working here for the remaining six months.
Minister Young assured that Venezuelan who are employed in this country will be protected by T&T laws, and employees should pay them nothing less than the national minimum wage. They will be not be required to pay NIS but will have to contribute PAYE if they cross the income threshold.
Venezuelans who are registered will also benefit from free emergency medical services at public health institutions including treatment for acute medical conditions such as accidents, injuries, asthma, heart attacks, strokes, diabetic comas, infectious disease and initial stabilization of fractures. They will also benefit from public health promotions and immunization efforts.
On the contrary, there is no guarantee that registered Venezuelans will be able to access education, training courses or social services offered by government and state entities.
When the period of registration for amnesty ends, the law will be reverted and persons who are here illegally will be deported.
Minister Young estimated that the registration process will cost the Government $5 million.