Immigration Department Moving Forward with Plans to Establish an Enforcement Unit

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis Immigration Department is moving forward with plans to establish an Enforcement Unit that will strengthen the protection of the Federation’s borders.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Sheldon Jeffers, said that the creation of the unit is a priority as the department is an essential cog in the national security structure.

“With the absence of that Enforcement Unit, it sorts of restricts us in terms of going out in the field to look for persons who have overstayed,” Mr. Jeffers stated on the July 12 edition of the radio and television programme InFocus. “I believe it is needed at this time with what is happening right now especially with the increase in crime because we are an added arm of the security forces.”

The responsibility to conduct visits will be one of the main goals of the unit when it is established. In the meantime, immigration officers do periodic checks, visiting various establishments and gathering intelligence to identify persons who overstayed their visit.

When discovered, persons are given the option to regularize their status at the Ministry of National Security, leave the Federation, or they will be charged under the appropriate law.

Mr. Jeffers added that the border management system is also being upgraded. The software includes a built-in module reporting system that highlights cases of persons overstaying their visits.

The deployment of the Enforcement Unit will also include identifying cases of persons entering the country from an unauthorized point as well as cases of human smuggling and trafficking.

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