Immigration crackdown nets 45

| 04/09/2010


(CNS): Immigration officials said on Friday that they have arrested 45 people for more than 50 immigration offences since the amnesty ended in July. Although, the number of prosecutions ahs not yet been revealed the Immigration Department said it has already collected fines amounting to $24,650 from offenders and their employers. One person was arrested for overstaying for almost two years others, 16 others for shorter periods of overstaying and the others were arrested from offences such as making false representations, causing another person to overstay, having an altered passport and obstruction. In the wake of the amnesty the department warned it would be cracking down on offenders once it was over.

“Since the amnesty ended, enforcement officers have been busy conducting operations to detect over-stayers and illegal workers, and carrying out investigations into reports the department has received of suspected Immigration crime,” said Linda Evans Chief Immigration Officer
As only one employer took the opportunity during the amnesty to cancel a work permit for a worker who was unemployed or underemployed, Deputy Chief Immigration Officer for Enforcement Gary Wong said officials were now looking at business owners and residents that may be committing this type of offence.
He said the Immigration Department, together with other law enforcements agencies, will continue to actively pursing employers and others who are committing immigration offences and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and deportation will be recommended where appropriate. The maximum penalty for overstaying is a fine of $20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. The penalties for work permit offences range from CI$5,000 to $15,000, and imprisonment of up to one year.
The recently arrested offenders cam from a diverse range of countries including Jamaica, Honduras, Cayman, Canada, America, Britain, the Fillipines, India, Holland and South African.
Prior tot he clamp down the department had offered a month long amnesty which was used by 87 persons, who took advantage of the opportunity to leave the Cayman Islands during July without any repercussions. During the month 67 male and 20 female overstayers departed without prosecution.
By nationality, 50 were from Jamaica; 10 were from the United States; four, Canada; and three or fewer overstayers were from Honduras, Nicaragua, India, South Africa, Colombia, Cuba, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Guyana, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom. Evans commended all who contributed to the success of the amnesty, and thanked the public for its cooperation.
People who are overstaying or committing other immigration offences should contact the Immigration Enforcement Section, or they will be arrested when they attempt to depart.
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