Nevis non-nationals arrears in their residency permit payments have saddled the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) with a multi million dollar loss in revenue by granting these people a four months long amnesty period.
Several non-nationals are delinquent in payments for work permits, annual residency, school attendances, student visas and visa extensions in an effort for them to be regularized. Non payers are warned “immigration officers may come looking for them.”
The Premier of Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley revealed during his monthly Press Conference, which was held at the Premiers Office March 29, said some 974 persons have taken advantage thus far of the amnesty period.
Work permit fees are $2,500 per year while residency fees are $1,500 per year . He said this is the second time in the past five years that the Concerned Citizens Movement led NIA has granted amnesty. The Observer was informed that the final figure as to what the government will loss in revenue is not calculated as yet as the amnesty period just ended. But the NIA estimates the current figure is in the millions of dollars.
Premier Brantley noted the reasons why the amnesty period was given. “We would have done that because it has always been the position of this government that those who have come to Nevis and have decided to make Nevis their home are making a valuable contribution…”
In continuing he said that “we have discovered that some people are here and they are here illegally. Not that in many cases that they want to be illegal but for a variety of certain circumstances. If you are on Nevis and have found yourself in some difficulty where you have become illegal because of failure to pay the amounts to the government then we will provide some kind of relief through amnesty,” he said.
“So if you were not paying, we wiped off that debt and allowed you to start anew and we said as an incentive for you to come in and take advantage of the amnesty, that if you come in before March 31 we would reduce the work permit fee from $2500 to $1500 and reduce the residency fee from $1500 to $1000”
Brantley said that the period should have ended on March 31, but due to the number of holidays at the end of March it will be extended to April 6. He noted however that after the period has ended the prices will go back to what they were and those who owe will have to come in and settle in full whatever they owe.
Brantley warned that if this period passes and “you do not take advantage of it you cannot blame the government if the immigration officials come looking for you because we have given ample time and ample opportunity and reduced the price and have taken a financial hit,” Brantley said
Brantley urged persons to take advantage of the period and ” regularize your status and respect our immigration laws”.