The Government will be issuing registration cards in the next couple weeks to Venezuelans who were involved in the recently concluded amnesty exercise, National Security Minister Stuart Young has said.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media conference, Young said the cards and designs for these are being finalised. A machine to print them is being procured since the cards will be printed at the Ministry for security reasons.
A total of 16,543 people registered over the two-week exercise to access a one-year arrangement to work locally. This was offered by the Government following an influx of Venezuelans to T&T after political tensions caused a crisis in their country.
Young said due diligence checks being done on applications was almost complete and printing and distribution of the cards would be done in the next couple weeks.
Young said Venezuelans who were in the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) who qualified and did not have criminal backgrounds were allowed to register and were released.
He said he had been issuing deportation orders daily since the exercise, but could not give figures on how many.
On others at the IDC, Young said he had gotten the green light to grant to about seven detainees from Africa and and some from Caricom countries, a ministerial order allowing them to work for one year once they had no criminal record.
He said the visa system for Venezuelans was operating via a system similar to the US visa process. He said people had been applying and “some“ had been getting visas.
Young confirmed a security unit—including police, immigration and others—similar to the US’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement Federal agency (ICE) will be tackling trafficking and related issues. ICE in the US enforces American immigration laws and investigates the criminal/terrorist activity of transnational organisations and aliens within the US.
Young said security teams were targeting heads of trafficking operations. He said he told security personnel at meetings this week a dedicated unit similar to ICE, would handle the job and team members would have to be vetted.
He said: “As we have had instances where we were planning certain raids on establishments and while we know such places are usually very busy at night, on the night the raids took place, no one was there—that’s not a coincidence.”
Officers for the unit will be identified in the next few weeks.