With a proposed budget of $5 million, the Cabinet has officially approved the registration of Venezuelans which would allow them to stay and work in TT for one year.
National Security Minister Stuart Young made the announcement during the post-cabinet media briefing today.
Young told reporters there would be five designated offices across the country for the registration period, including in Cedros and Tobago. He said to register they must provide proof they are from Venezuela and other information including an address. He said authorities would work with Interpol and authorities in Venezuela while doing background checks and may deport people if they are not truthful.
Documented and undocumented Venezuelan immigrants including those at the Immigration Detention Centre have been asked to register.
Once the two week period for registration ends TT will revert to its current immigration laws.
Young said the registration process should eliminate some of the exploitation Venezuelans currently face from unscrupulous employers in TT.
The registration is scheduled to begin on May 31 and end on June 14.
Cabinet also discussed reviewing the policy regarding all other illegal immigrants in TT. Young said if a similar policy is approved for other immigrants there will be a cut off date. He said the Venezuelan situation, as a humanitarian response, was the priority.
Will Venezuelans be allowed to go to school or receive free healthcare?
Young told reporters that there would be no guarantee of education or social services for those registered Venezuelans. He explained that TT's education system was at capacity.
He said if Venezuelans were able to find schools or places to educate their children that would not be prohibited.
Young also said Venezuelans would not be required to pay NIS contributions and but if they earned above the $6,000 threshold employers would be responsible for paying PAYE.
As to healthcare, Young said Cabinet had decided that Venezuelans would have access to free emergency, primary and public healthcare.