The aim of adjusting immigration policy is to emphasize and further flesh out the principle that Sint Maarten, as a small and vulnerable economy, must pursue a restrictive immigration policy.
As is well known, immigration policy is a changing issue, it must be adapted to the ever-changing socio-economic factors of society. According to the minister, the immigration policy, as reflected in the 2012 Guidelines, was outdated. It has not been updated by previous justice ministers in the past nine years.
The impact of both Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the pandemic on the economy were the most important factors for the current Justice Minister to thoroughly overhaul immigration policy.
Since this is a time-consuming process, the minister has chosen to deal with the “necessary” adjustments first. At the moment there are 12 policy issues that are being adjusted. For example, a cohabitation contract is from now on not enough to become an official resident of Sint Maarten as a partner, a marriage is now required. From now on residence permits are also in principle issued for one year at a time, so not for several years at once. For example, ten more adjustments have been made.
The amended immigration policy has been drawn up in close consultation with the entire immigration management team and their legal experts. The Ministerial Decree was vetted by the Legal Affairs and Legislation Department. And both the Governing Coalition and the Parliament of Sint Maarten have had the opportunity to contribute to the latest version of the immigration policy. So there is support for the changes at all levels.
Categories: Anna Richardson Rablis