The alleged policy of the Immigration Department to ask residents to leave while new workers enter the Territory was questioned by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Andrew Fahie during the 1 March sitting of the House of Assembly. During the questions and answers segment Hon. Fahie asked the Premier why the Immigration Department was asking people to leave while permitting new persons to enter and take up employment: “If the persons that are here Madame Speaker are leaving, if they are leaving because they have completed their tasks … are still looking work and are told they don’t have work now based on how things went with Irma and they have been here for years. We know them and they are putting them out because they don’t have work and we are bringing in more than we are putting out to come and get work isn’t something wrong with that formula,” Hon. Fahie asked.
The Opposition Leader pointed out that: “There are those who have been here for years and have been working and we have to be fair to them versus just bringing in new persons when the skill set is within those persons who we are shipping out…With the influx of persons coming in how are we going to monitor them to make sure that when they are finished working that they go out??…” Hon. Fahie asked.
In response Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith explained that the persons who are here that have not been working have been offered employment in the hurricane relief program. Further the Premier said that the persons are not being asked to leave the Territory.
The Premier also noted that mechanisms are in place to monitor expatriate workers: “Everyone who enters this Territory must go through the immigration process so there is a record of when they come in. There is also a record of who they are going to work for. Very soon we are putting in place an electronic system where there will be a permanent record of these persons and we will have an opportunity to follow them on different employments so there will have a record of who is in the country.”