The Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle, says the categories of persons eligible for the Government’s current amnesty should have been broadened to allow more people to make a meaningful contribution to Antigua and Barbuda.
At the time, Pringle was debating the Immigration and Passport Amendment Bill, 2022, which was passed with three amendments, today, March 15.
Pringle says that, instead of the four to seven years’ timeline, the amnesty could have targeted those who have lived here between two and seven years.
Further, instead of just offering an amnesty, the Government should have sought to find out why persons are currently without status, he says.
Having spoken with several non-nationals in his constituency, Pringle says the increase in work-permit fees was a major reason why immigrants have not renewed their time.
He notes that the fees almost doubled under the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Administration, and adds that the United Progressive Party is proposing a reduction in fees so that more people will keep their status up to date.
According to Pringle, the amnesty is being offered at this time as an election gimmick. He says, however, that the people are not fooled and understand the motive.