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Turks And Caicos Relaxes Immigration Rules

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Turks and Caicos Islands government has announced that it has relaxed immigration rules on short-term visitors to the island.

The Ministry of Border Control announced that it is tripling from 30 days to 90 days the maximum period that businesspeople and tourists can visit the island without seeking an extension to stay.

The change in rules was made in an amendment to the Immigration Ordinance, which has been altered to allow immigration officers to allow entry to visitors to "enter and remain for a period not exceeding 90 days." Effective since May 1, 2010, the amendment will allow immigration officers to determine the length of a visitor’s stay, but the use of a 90 day tenure will be at the discretion of the government. Strict measures will still be in place to deal with any abuse, the Ministry said.

On making the announcement, Clara Gardiner, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Border Control and Labour, said: "As we look to bring on economic recovery, it is key that we make it clear that the Turks and Caicos Islands welcome genuine visitors and investors to the islands. Our new 90-day policy is intended to reflect that.”

She added: "For instance, a retired couple from abroad who own property in the islands, who wish to visit for a long vacation, or an investor supervising the setting up [of] a new business, should not be required to reduce their stay, nor apply for multiple extensions. Such visitors are not competing in the local job market, nor do they place a burden on public services, but they do contribute significantly to the local economy and give generously to local charities and community events.

Gardiner concluded: "People like these should be welcomed to these shores. The islands should be encouraging them to plan for an extended hassle-free stay."