Gov­ern­ment looks to amend Im­mi­gra­tion Act

Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION -

MIN­IS­TER OF For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Se­na­tor Kam­ina John­son Smith has said that the Gov­ern­ment is look­ing to amend the Im­mi­gra­tion Act to give over­seas Ja­maicans cer­tain ben­e­fits akin to hold­ers of a Ja­maican pass­port.

She said the move was pro­posed by the Eco­nomic Growth Coun­cil (EGC) in re­sponse to the con­cerns of over­seas Ja­maicans about the has­sles they of­ten face when they come home to do busi­ness.

She said the amend­ment would see the is­su­ing of a Global Im­mi­gra­tion Card to per­sons liv­ing in the di­as­pora, which will al­low them to stay in the is­land for an ex­tended pe­riod, among other ben­e­fits.

“It will al­low you, es­pe­cially sec­ond and third gen­er­a­tions and be­yond, to be con­nected through this card and will give you cer­tain ben­e­fits as if you were a Ja­maican pass­port holder,” John­son Smith noted.

She was ad­dress­ing the Ja­maica Chris­tian Di­as­pora Con­fer­ence at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, St James, on Thurs­day.

The min­is­ter said dis­cus­sions to fa­cil­i­tate the leg­is­la­tion were be­ing fast-tracked. She noted that the move would deepen and ex­pand part­ner­ship with the di­as­pora and make it eas­ier for them to do busi­ness in the coun­try.

ECO­NOMIC PROS­PER­ITY

She noted that the di­as­pora was crit­i­cal to Ja­maica’s jour­ney to eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

“The main thrust of this ad­min­is­tra­tion is the achieve­ment of pros­per­ity through eco­nomic growth and job cre­ation. We view this not as an end in it­self, but as the sus­tain­able means of up­lift­ing, sup­port­ing, and pro­tect­ing our most vul­ner­a­ble at all lev­els,” she said.

John­son Smith noted that some of Ja­maica’s finest minds have been ply­ing their trade over­seas, do­ing well in busi­ness and mak­ing mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions by way of re­mit­tances.

She noted that as min­is­ter of for­eign af­fairs, she wants to take it a step fur­ther by en­cour­ag­ing mem­bers of the di­as­pora to play a greater role in the coun­try’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“There are many per­sons within the di­as­pora that have tremen­dous skills, tal­ent, in­flu­ence, and re­sources that can and should be har­nessed for Ja­maica’s de­vel­op­ment,” John­son Smith said.

“I have spo­ken to many of them, and they are in­deed de­sirous of us­ing these gifts to the ben­e­fit of their home­land. We, there­fore, seek the sup­port

of ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the Church, to mo­bilise and iden­tify spe­cific ways where we can get our Ja­maicans over­seas to buy into the Gov­ern­ment’s growth agenda vi­sion,” she added.

She noted that Ja­maica “needs all hands on deck” for the jour­ney ahead, adding that to­gether, “we can ac­com­plish things that were once con­sid­ered dif­fi­cult.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Se­na­tor Kam­ina John­son Smith.

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