Immigrants living and working in the Turks and Caicos Islands will soon be the holders of plastic identification status cards as proof of their legality in the country, as another milestone in the long journey to overhaul the Ministry of Border Control and Employment is reached.
This initiative was one of the more critical areas of focus for the Ministry as a measure in combating the expansive circulation of forged government documents among immigrant workers and residents locally. As promised by the Deputy Premier, Hon. Sean R. Astwood in his August 2017 ministerial speech in the House of Assembly, the Ministry has now moved to a more secure and controlled form of status documents that will limit the opportunities for replication and circumvention of the system.
The new ID cards will be utilized for both labour and immigration products, as they are set to replace the familiar paper cards for Work Permits, Freelance Permits, Permanent Residence, Residents Permits and Homeowners Permits. Additionally, there will now be cards issued for persons endorsed on the different products.
The initiative, which was approved through amendments to the 2016 Immigration Regulations during the November 15th meeting of Cabinet, improves the security of the government issued ID, provides a convenient way to carry proof of status, and facilitates proof of identity for endorsed individuals. On December 1st the departments commenced training and are conducting familiarization exercises internally, with stakeholders and with the general public. This process will continue over the upcoming weeks.
The Ministry aims to have the paper cards out of circulation by the end of 2018 and will commence distribution of the new cards by January 15, 2018.