Black Immigrant Daily News
Venezuelans wait for information on their registration cards opposition the Immigration Division office, Henry Street, Port of Spain on December 16, 2022. – FILE PHOTO/AYANNA KINSALE
Venezuelans legally registered with the TT government since 2019 will receive a new extension of their work permits.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds made the announcement on the Eye on Dependency radio show on i95.5FM on Sunday morning.
He said the government has made humanitarian decisions regarding people of other nationalities who are in the country due to socioeconomic situations in their countries and Venezuelans are part of it.
Hinds recalled in the case of Venezuelans, the government has been granting permits for them to remain under better circumstances since 2019 and many of them are people who have been in TT for more than eight years.
He said currently 9,133 Venezuelans have their registration cards updated, however 449 who committed crimes or violated TT laws were sent back to their country.
Hinds said there are also a large number of Venezuelans who have returned to their country of their own free will and another 4,000 who are still in the process of evaluating their status, completing the more than 13,000 Venezuelans who re-registered in 2021.
He said he has been working closely with the Venezuelan embassy in a joint collaboration on the repatriations.
The official decree is expected to be published in a gazette in the coming days. This will be the fourth extension of work permits for Venezuelans since 2019 when 16,523 initially registered to opt for an amnesty that would allow them to stay in TT legally.
Hinds did not say how long this extension will last. He also did not talk about other benefits requested by Venezuelans such as education for their children, expansion of care services in the health system, driver’s licences or inclusion of new people in the registry.
The news was taken positively by the Venezuelan community. Hundreds of migrants said the extension of work permits will allow them to be calm.
Julmary Madriz Belle, a Venezuelan community leader, told Newsday on Monday the new renewal of work permits is a relief for those 9,133 people approved.
“Somehow it gives employers the confidence to continue giving them work,” she said.
However, Belle said it is important the communication between the TT government and Venezuelans, who will continue to be here legally, improve.
“There should be a direct channel of communication for all those complaints and recommendations of many people, directly and indirectly, affected. We must sit at a table together with the Ministry of Education to find a solution to the serious situation of thousands of children unable to study in the country losing years of learning that will affect them for life,” she said.
Belle also said there are many Venezuelans in the process of obtaining residency who were not allowed to obtain work permits.
Other Venezuelans mentioned other needs and ask Hinds to attend to them.
Marilyn Godoy said: “Those of us registered should have permits to be able to go to Venezuela to visit our families and return to our jobs here without losing our registration.”
Marian Natera asked Hinds to have the approvals forwarded to all public and private bodies.
“Many people here don’t know our work permits are renewed. That prevents us from opening bank accounts, keeping jobs, qualifying for employment benefits that by law should protect us, as well as qualifying for driver’s licences. Many Venezuelans could be hired as drivers and cannot because they do not have licences,” she said.