By STIRLING STRACHAN
Department of Immigration announces changes to policies regarding acceptance and processing of applications for Work Permits and Permits to Reside from the Republic of Haiti
NASSAU, The Bahamas — In light of recent instability involving the Haitian Government in Haiti, the Government of The Bahamas has made decisions that will affect migrants from Haiti, said Minister of Labour and Immigration the Hon. Keith Bell during a press conference at the Ministry of Labour Friday, January 27, 2023.
“Existing and new Permit to Reside applications for Haitian citizens will only be considered on a case-by-case basis and approval will only be granted in the most exceptional circumstances.
“No new Work Permit applications for Haitian citizens will be processed until such time as revised protocols are introduced to verify and authenticate documents issued by the Haitian government and the Haitian national police,” Minister Bell said.
“All existing work permits, applications and renewals for work permits will be subjected to the most vigorous review and scrutiny. Applicants should note that as a consequence, the time frame for the processing and determination of such applications will be impacted.”
“The government of the Bahamas is resolute in its commitment to protect its borders and enforce its immigration laws,” Minister Bell said. “If you have information of breaches to the immigration laws, please contact the Department of Immigration and information can also be forwarded via the Department’s website at www.immigration.gov.bs under the tab ‘contact us!'”
“On Thursday, the 26th January, 2023,” Minister Bell said, “the Haitian National Police paralysed Port-au-Prince, Haiti by blocking streets and forcing their way into Haiti’s main airport. Reports indicate that the officers also attacked Haiti’s Head of Government Ariel Henry’s official residence. Roads in several cities in the North of Haiti were blocked by protesters. Yesterday’s protest by the Haitian National Police followed the departure from office of Haiti’s last remaining Senators and represents a further decline in the functioning and stability of the Haitian Government.”
Last evening, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis ordered an immediate involuntary departure from Haiti of all Bahamian diplomatic personnel as soon as security conditions permit.
The Bahamas maintains a strict regulatory framework for the review and processing of all immigration applications. This process requires each applicant to produce various reports and certifications from their home countries. A key report is a character certificate from local police authorities to confirm any criminal history of an applicant.
Additionally, in many instances, the Department of Immigration may require applicants to attend the Bahamian Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s home country when immigration officials require enhanced verification.
In response to yesterday’s events, the Department of Immigration hereby advises the public of changes to its policies concerning the acceptance and processing of applications for Work Permits and Permits to Reside from the Republic of Haiti. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)