Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
IMMIGRATION Minister Brent Symonette yesterday appealed to local banks to exercise sympathy and sensitivity in handling the accounts of people with expired residency or work permits.
Mr Symonette said he was unaware of any legal mandate for banks to shut down client accounts immediately upon the expiry of status permits, adding the processing challenges faced by the Immigration Department are well-known.
"It appears that some banks," he told the Lower House, "when person's work permits expire, are refusing to deal with them as clients. I don't see anything in the law that allows them to shut down a person from doing business just because his work permit or residency permit has expired."
He continued: "Please be more sympathetic, more sensitive, I understand that's happening in places like drivers license or other areas. The person hasn't died because his work permit has expired. We all know the Immigration Department is doing the best job it can, it can do better.
"Give us some time to renew permits," he said.
Mr Symonette also backed Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd's appeal for schools to allow students to register regardless of their parent's legal status.
"And similarly," Mr Symonette said, "the schools that are not allowing persons to enter their schools and get an education simply because their parents work permits is not in place, please stop that too. We need to educate the young persons in this country, irrespective of where their parents came from."