No work permits to Haitians without legal status in the Bahamas

Bahamian authorities are about to take a zero tolerance stance with their new immigration restrictions. Following a string of arrests spanning from August 19, 2014 to as recently as September 17, the government of the Bahamas is considering changes that will greatly impact the urge many Haitians have to flee to the more prosperous country.


The numbers are uncertain, but it was estimated in 2009 that there were about 50,000 illegal Haitian settlers in the Bahamas. Attempting the address that, the Bahamian Government may adapt measures that will make it harder for migrant workers to settle there. One new rule, which went into immediate effect, was that work permits will no longer be issued to those with an illegal status in the country. An illegal who applies for one will also be arrested and deported. Other measures being considered are a permanent ban on the bestowing of legal status to anyone who has ever been deported from the country and additional fees for any Haitians seeking permits to work in the Bahamas. They may also be required to make an in-person application at the Bahamas Embassy in Haiti. The possible changes have been presented to the Haitian ambassador in the Bahamas, and will be discussed with other Haitian officials.

Following the arrests of over 300 Haitian migrants over the aforementioned period (631 since the start of the year), there is little wonder at the measures being taken by the Bahamian authorities. Almost a hundred of this number was taken into custody on September 17 after the sailing sloop which carried them was accosted some 10 nautical miles off Darby Island.

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