Venezuelan migrant registration kicks off
The Venezuelan Migrant Registration Process got underway today, Friday May 31, 2019 at all three registration centres in Trinidad and Tobago without any major challenges.
There was a steady flow of applicants during the morning period at the Port of Spain and San Fernando locations and to lesser extent in Tobago.
Shortly after 7:00 am the first batch of applicants made their way into the Port of Spain Registration Centre where they first underwent security checks before being ushered into the waiting area where their documents where verified by Immigration officials.
Around 7:30 am Acting Minister of National Security and Minister of Communications, the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds visited the Port of Spain Centre at Queens Park Oval to get a first-hand look at the process and to engage with the Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews and other officials stationed at the centre. Shortly after his walk through of the centre he addressed the media where he responded to queries and questions pertaining to the registrations process
Also present at the Port of Spain Registration Centre was Commissioner of Police Gary Griffiths who also did a walk-through of the centre and also addressed the media on security arrangements.
Later Friday morning Minister Hinds accompanied by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, the Honourable Glenda Jennings-Smith visited the San Fernando Registration Centre located at the Achievors Banquet Hall while the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Vel Lewis visited the Registration Centre located in Port of Spain.
Generally, the Venezuelan Migrant Registration Process went smoothly, except for some challenges with accessing of forms online, but this issue was rectified and registration continued at all centres unabated.
Shortly after 2:00 pm Minister Hinds arrived at Caroline Building, Wilson Road, Scarborough, Tobago and was taken on a tour of the Registration Centre.
Registration continues tomorrow until June 14, 2019. Centres are opened between 7 am to 5 pm.
VENEZUELAN MIGRANT REGISTRATION:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 1. Who will be required to register?
Venezuelans MUST register if they have
- entered Trinidad and Tobago through legal ports but have overstayed their time.
- entered Trinidad and Tobago through illegal ports.
- been working in Trinidad and Tobago without work permits.
Venezuelans DO NOT have to register if they
- are permanent residents of Trinidad and Tobago
- have dual citizenship for Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago.
- have valid work permits
- are in the process of obtaining legal immigration status.
Also, a UNHCR certificate is not equivalent to a work permit and therefore persons with a UNHCR certificate must also register to be applicable to work in Trinidad and Tobago.
- 2. What are the registration dates?
Registration will take place from Friday May 31st, 2019 to Friday June 14th, 2019 inclusive of weekends. There will be a break on Wednesday June 5th due to the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.
- 3. What are the registration centres located?
There are three registration centres across Trinidad and Tobago. They are:
- Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain
- Acheivors Banquet Hall, Duncan Village, San Fernando
- Caroline Building, Wilson Street, Scarborough.
- 4. What time will the registration centres be open?
The centres will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m daily.
- 5. What are the required documents for the registration?
The Required Documents are:
- 2 Completed and Printed copies of the online application forms
- Birth Certificate
- Cedula/Identification Card
- 2 Passport-sized Photographs
- Proof of address
- Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
- Legal Guardian documents (if applicable)
- 6. Can I still register if I don’t have the required documents?
Applicants must fill out forms online and print them. Persons without these documents will be directed accordingly at the registration centres.
- 7. Will the registration allow Venezuelans to work in T&T?
Venezuelans who are registered will receive a registration card which will authorize the holder to work legally in Trinidad and Tobago for one (1) year. The holder of the permit will be assessed after the first six months.
- 8. Will the approved registrants be entitled to be paid minimum wage by their employers?
Employers must comply with the country’s labour laws , including payment of no less than the minimum wage.
- 9. Will they have to pay taxes?
Holders of work permit exemptions will be required to pay PAYE if they cross the income threshold but not NIS.
- 10. What will be required of the applicants at the registration centre?
Applicants will be required to submit completed application forms (giving their local address and contact information), have their photographs taken, and provide biometrics including fingerprints. Bilingual doctors and nurses will also be at the sites doing medical check-ups.
Applicants are also required to swear to a statutory declaration that the information given is true and correct.
- 11. Will they receive a registration card on the same day that they apply?
No. Applications will be assessed, after which applicants that have been approved will be issued registration cards.
- 12. What benefits will they receive?
Registered Venezuelans will benefit from free emergency medical services at public health institutions.
There is no guarantee to education or social services.
- 13. What happens after the one (1) year period expires?
After this period of amnesty expires for Venezuelans to register, the law will revert and illegal persons may be subject to deportation.
- If a Venezuelan came to T&T illegally, can they travel after obtaining a registration card?
Yes, the person can travel using a legal port of entry with their necessary travel documents. However, the registration card is not a travel document.
- Will minors receive a registration card?
Only persons 16 years and over will receive registration cards. Information from children under the age of 16 that was collected from the registration process will be stored on a database.
- What are the consequences for Venezuelans who break the law ?
- Venezuelans caught breaking T&T laws will be prosecuted.
- Venezuelan registrants will be searched against an Interpol watch list.
- Anyone who applies for registration and is found to be on this watch list will be denied a Registration Card, detained and deported.
- Venezuelans who provide false information on their registration forms will be denied and deported
- Ex-convicts of serious crimes will not be granted a Registration Card
and will be deported.
6. Persons who were previously ordered deported will be removed from Trinidad and Tobago under the existing deportation order.
- The registration exercise is necessary and is being implemented in trying and difficult circumstances.
- The Government is always mindful of elements of criminality and will work along with law enforcement, intelligence and international agencies to address any criminal element.