The original amnesty, which ran from April 1st to June 30th, has been extended to July 31st 2011 by Cabinet. In the three months of the amnesty, less than two dozen people who were working here illegally applied for work permits.
According to Labour Minister Glynis Roberts, it is believed that many more are employed illegally than those who took advantage of the amnesty.
She warned that after July 31, it won’t be business as usual.
Engaging in employment without a work permit is not only illegal, but it also results in an annual loss of thousands of dollars in revenue for the government. Anyone failing to comply with the labour rules will be asked to leave the country as of month-end, Minister Roberts said.
“What we are trying to do is to get people to understand that they are expected to adhere to the laws of the country,’’ she said. “We have to find a way for people to understand that there are rules, like in other countries, regarding visitors and would-be employees.’’
Mrs. Roberts reminded employers hiring non-nationals with special skills, and promoters bringing entertainers to the country, to also follow the labour procedures. The employers and promoters, she pointed out, must first secure work permits before the would-be employees and entertainers arrive in Grenada.
“Too often we have people coming for a visit, getting an extension from Immigration, and then an attempt is made to process a work permit for them,’’ the Labour Minister said.
“It is disrespectful to the laws of the land to bring in an entertainer or employee as a visitor and expect them to be granted a work permit,’’ she added. “Every person entering a country has a status, and the right procedures must be followed as dictated by law.’’
Minister Roberts appealed to those concerned to make use of the amnesty without fear, saying the process is meant to assist them in making good on their stay in Grenada.