Court orders release of Guyanese immigrant with valid work permit

PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance recently ordered the immediate release of a Guyanese man, who was detained by the Immigration and Border Protection Service on May 12, for failing to show proof of legal residence.

Attorney Remco Stomp said over the weekend that the man, who was found working at a company that provides services for the marine industry, was arrested and detained for not being able to show a valid residency permit. The company he was working for, however, did have a work permit for him, Stomp said.

The man had arrived from Guyana in September 2015 with a valid visa and landing permit, which meant that his residency request was approved and he only needed to collect the permit at the immigration office in Philipsburg, Stomp said. At the Immigration Office, the man showed his landing permit and visa.

“He was told to wait at for a civil servant, who went into the back office. The civil servant returned shortly after with the message that he would not get his residency paper and that he had to return immediately to Guyana,” Stomp said. “In shock, he left the building and returned to his employer. During a joint inspection by local authorities at his work place, he was arrested and detained in order to be deported. His family contacted immigration attorney Remco Stomp, who filed an immediate injunction procedure in court.”

Stomp said at the hearing, the attorney of the Minister of Justice argued that the man was deported on multiple occasions, that a three-year immigration ban was given to him and that the work permit and landing permit issued to the man was merely a mistake.

“The Minister’s attorney also argued that the official letter from the Minister of Justice holding the decision to not grant his residence permit was sent to him. The Minister’s attorney pointed out that the decision was legally valid for it was well received by an individual that held a special Power of Attorney from the man’s employer and this individual had notably signed for receipt of the letter,” Stomp said.

“This document was presented in court. The Minister’s attorney stated that the man had not appealed this decision and therefore had lost his chance to remain on island and therefore should be held captive until his deportation. Case closed.”

Stomp pointed out that his client was not a criminal, but a hard-working immigrant. “My client never formally received this decision,” Stomp said in court. “The fact that the employer gave someone a Power of Attorney has no meaning (because) the employer does not apply for the resident permit, but only for the work permit. Application for residency is strictly a personal matter,” Stomp explained. Stomp stressed that no Power of Attorney was given by his client to the employer to handle his residency request, apparently the reason why none was found in the file.

This meant that the power that was made by the employer was not valid, which in turn means that technically his client was never formally informed, but only received the decision and letter at the injunction hearing and still had the right to appeal the decision within six weeks after the hearing. Stomp said therefore that his client could not be deemed illegal on island, as he arrived with all visa required. He told the court that for these reasons his client should be released immediately. The judge ruled accordingly.

Source: Daily Herald
Court orders release of Guyanese immigrant with valid work permit