AMNESTY International (AI) yesterday urged Prime Minister Dr Rowley to extend the deadline to register Venezuelan migrants, estimating 12,000 would remain unregisted when the deadline reaches tomorrow.
“According to government information, the plan was to register 28,000 Venezuelans between 31 May and tomorrow. But there are an estimated 40,000 Venezuelans in TT.
“Amnesty International remains concerned that the registration period is too short to register all the Venezuelans in the country and respectfully requests that your Government consider extending the time-frame for registration.”
AI said many could be refugees who may lack requisite documents. “We call on authorities not to impose restrictions or conditions that impede access to protection mechanisms.”
The human right group queried the Governmentâs stance after Friday, existing immigration laws will be enforced.
Meanwhile immigration law expert attorney Matthew Gayle believes the migrants may have a legitimate expectation under the law, of a proper opportunity to register.
There have been claims hundreds being turned away daily as registration centres claimed to have already filled a hitherto unknown daily “quota” despite migrants sacrificing their time, money and effort to reach these centres.
“My initial reaction is there is some sort of legitimate expectation created by governmentâs offer,” Gayle said. “Obviously it must remain within the discretion of government officials and politicians to decide on just how they execute this from a pragmatic perspective. The administration of the policy must be a matter for government officials.
“But having said that if there is a promise made to people that they can regularise themselves within a certain period of time, you would expect the Government to have done its assessment beforehand and to have allowed sufficient time.”
Gayle said a promise has been made, which migrants could rely on if having faced some sort of detriment to reach the centres. “At first blush, it would appear that there has been a legal expectation created.”
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