Immigration Department responds to ‘free movement’ scolding

Antigua & Barbuda was recently reprimanded by OECS Director General Dr Didacus Jules for failing to honour its obligation to grant the stay stamp immediately upon arrival.

But Mark told OBSERVER media that the indefinite status is given immediately upon entry into the country.

“It is just a form of formality, so we can know how many persons are actually staying in Antigua. There are no conditions to be satisfied; it is literally a matter of formality,” she said, adding that government simply “wants to know who is working and accessing our services and when OECS ask us questions we want to know what to tell them”.

However, she said the OECS stamps are given at the Immigration Department and no OECS national has ever been denied entry.

She also said the OECS stamps have been ordered but have not yet arrived.

“I don’t understand the obsession about giving these stamps in people’s passport. We have ordered the stamps and they will be here soon,” Mark said.

Under the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, member states agreed to the implementation of the administrative arrangements to give effect to the free movement of people.

As part of the arrangement upon arrival, nationals who are part of the OECS Economic Union will be offered an indefinite stay stamp by immigration.

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