Local air and sea transport companies are not getting any special treatment now that the new Revised Immigration and Passport Regulations Fees are in effect.
The new fees took effect on March 17 and saw a change from $5 for boats or aircrafts coming into the Territory to $20 across the board for locally based and foreign vessels and aircrafts.
In an interview, Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Guy Hill explained that there is no reduced fee or discount for local vessels in the revised regulation. He said that the new fees cannot be waived and will be applied to all sea and air carriers that require the services of the Immigration Department outside of regular operating hours or at any time on Sundays or public holidays.
Mr. Hill also confirmed that charter boats will be subjected to the fee increase because it is based on entry into the Territory, whether the vessel is docked at an official port of entry or a marina.
Acting Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Mr. Ian Penn explained that local ferry companies whose schedule extends beyond 4:30p.m. will be affected by the fee change.
Mr. Penn said: “We have the ferries that run on scheduled services and most times they would run after 4:30 and therefore they would have to pay these fees. We also have the airlines at the airport who come in after 4:30 as well so they would also be liable to pay the fees, you also have private vessels and charter vessels that come into the Territory on a daily basis and at odd times after 4:30 so they would have to pay the fees; furthermore, now on Sundays and public holidays all carriers coming into the Territory would have to pay the fee on those days.”
Under the new regulations, the fees may be recovered summarily before the Magistrate by the Chief Immigration Officer, which means that if someone fails to pay the fee the Chief Immigration officer can take that person to the Magistrate’s Court and have the fee recovered. The Court may also order the violator to pay the fee and Court costs as well.