Directors’ licences still used to circumvent law

PHILIPSBURG–Persons continue to use the provision of a Director’s Licence to circumvent the country’s regulations to obtain legal residence for the country.

In responding to a question during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday, Prime Minister William Marlin said as soon as authorities close one loophole as it relates to the Director’s Licence, persons find another loophole. Persons who are granted Directors’ Licences are eligible for residence permits for the country.

Marlin said that lately, with assistance of one of the notary companies in the country, young immigrants from surrounding islands are establishing companies. Once the company is formed and has been incorporated at the Notary and registered at the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc., Directors’ Licences are requested for persons who are undocumented to work. The licences are used as a means for the undocumented worker to legalise their status.

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Marlin said the undocumented workers travel to Anguilla or go across the border to French St. Martin and authorities are told that they are off-island, which is a prerequisite for first-time residence permit applicants.

Marlin said persons looking to abuse the system are always “one step ahead” of authorities and “whenever you find the loophole and close it, they find a next one.”

He said that in the past, persons would establish one company with as many as 10 different objectives. One company would, for example, have as its goals: buying and selling cars, operating a restaurant, operating a car wash, operating a jewellery store, etc. The owner of the company would then have someone named to operate one of the businesses mentioned in the company’s charter and this was used to obtain a Director’s licence.

When authorities realised what was going on, this was stopped and companies had to have one primary objective. When this loophole was blocked, Marlin said companies began requesting directors’ licences for multiple directors at a time in one company. A jewellery store, for example, would apply for six directors’ licences when there were a total of six persons in its employ working as salespersons.

Marlin said the licence is requested to circumvent the existing rules and regulations.

He also explained another system that is being abused. Marlin said French St. Martin residents who open an account in Dutch St. Maarten do not have to pay the one per cent Government fee deducted for certain transactions in Dutch St. Maarten. To avoid paying the one per cent, persons from Dutch St. Maarten open their accounts in the names of their girlfriends and other persons who are residents of French St. Martin.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68400-directors-licences-still-used-to-circumvent-law

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