The Bahamas government says it will deport undocumented migrants who survived the passage of Hurricane Dorian on September 1 and are now living in shelters.
The comments came after the Department of Immigration issued a statement specifying that: “The applicant for a new work permit, or the renewal of an existing work permit, by a prospective employer of a non-Bahamian worker, will be required to satisfy immigration officials that satisfactory living accommodations have been arranged by that employer on behalf of the prospective worker, and that the said worker will not become a charge on the state or be permitted to live in sub-standard housing. Any person found in The Bahamas in contravention of the immigration laws will be subject to arrest, criminal proceedings and, where applicable, detention and deportation.”
The statement further added that: “The public is advised that non-nationals seeking employment in the Bahamas must be approved by the Immigration Department and that applications for the issuance of the first work permit will not be accepted or considered unless the individual is physically present and resident in his or her country of origin at the same time that the first application is made.”
The Bahamian government went on to remind the public that work permits are non-transferable from employer to employer.
“Any transfer from one employer to another under a current permit may only be legally affected by a new application submitted by that new employer,” the statement disclosed.
The government’s announcement is likely to worry many, including Jamaicans who fled Abaco’s decimated shanty towns after the storm.
According to the government’s 2018 shanty town report, 41 percent of Abaco residents in the area were legal residents as a consequence of their work permit.
By Vaughn Thorpe