MAJOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER ISSUES CONTINUE IN SINT MAARTEN: Sint-Maarten is not proceeding diligently to solve bottlenecks in immigration and border security. These were reported in 2014 by the Law Enforcement Council. Four of the six recommendations were not followed up. In 2014, the Law Enforcement Council published a report
published on the admission and removal of aliens on Sint Maarten, with an emphasis on applications related to the performance of work. In the report, the Council made six recommendations to the Minister of Justice. The Council reviewed progress last year. The first recommendation concerns cooperation between ministries in the field of a labor market study and the formulation of a labor market policy and an admission policy on the basis thereof.
The second recommendation is related to the latter and concerns ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of (admission) policy.
The main reason for the lack of follow-up to these two recommendations is the fact that although the recommendations are addressed to the Ministry of Justice, there is partly also the cooperation and willingness of both the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Labor USA and the Ministry of Justice is required for follow-up.
The Council believes it is important that the two ministries work together to ensure that the recommendation is followed and to ensure that the necessary judicial vision is not lost in conducting the labor market study and in policy preparation.
The third recommendation that has not been followed concerns the formulation and publication of policy. Among others, the guidelines of the Ministry of Justice have not yet been updated and published.
Nor has the recommendation been followed on the one hand regarding the harmonization of requirements in legislation, policy and the application form used for applying for a residence permit and on the other hand the decision-making and expulsion practice of the IGD.
There is still a discrepancy between the requirements on the application forms and the documents required by the IGD in practice.
The Council will continue to monitor developments in the coming period, but is aware of the difficult times that Sint Maarten is currently going through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressure this is causing on the various (judicial) organizations.
Although the realization of the above recommendations may not be feasible in the short term, the Council hopes that the focus on improving the identified bottlenecks in the medium to long term will not be lost.
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