PHILIPSBURG–The requirements to qualify for temporary residence have become more stringent under Justice Minister Anna Richardson, due to a Ministerial Decree issued in late January that, among other things, cancels cohabitation agreements from outside the Netherlands and proof of a child’s school enrolment on the French side as reasons for acceptance.
The Ministerial Decree issued by Richardson amends some of the guidelines issued by then-Justice Minister Roland Duncan in 2012.
Except for cohabitation agreements made in the Netherlands, all other partnership contracts cannot be used as the basis for granting temporary residence. Additionally, applicants for family reunification must now demonstrate a gross monthly income of NAf. 3,000 or some NAf. 36,000 per year.
These two provisions roll back the guidelines established by Duncan in 2012, which allowed partnership contracts and set the gross monthly amount at NAf. 2,000. At the time, Duncan said he was easing the requirements to place greater importance on “family life”, noting that most first-time residence applications were for family reasons.
The new Ministerial Decree also makes it harder for applicants with minor children. “Underage children older than 13 years old enrolled in primary school will no longer be accepted in the context of proof of ‘school attendance’ as a standard permit condition. Neither are school letters accepted from the French side as proof,” the decree reads.
Additionally, continued residence (in Dutch, “voortgezet verblijf”) can no longer be used as a purpose of stay, and temporary residence permits will be granted for a maximum of one year.
Applicants must also now have access to e-mail and how to use it. “Notifications in the context of a submitted application will always be in writing, preferably electronically. In this context, the applicant for a temporary or permanent residence permit must always state at least one e-mail address where they can be reached,” it was stated in the decree.
If someone has been illegally residing in St. Maarten prior to submitting a first-time application, the applicant will be rejected, according to the new decree. “It is irrelevant here whether the person concerned has been required to comply with the condition to be out of the country just before submitting the application. A subsequent application will only be eligible after three years,” the decree read.
First-time applicants for a business owner’s/director’s temporary residence permit must now demonstrate – with documents from a foreign financial institution – having starting capital of at least NAf. 36,000 from which their salary can be paid for the first year.
“The Ministry of Justice has established that the principle of a restrictive admission policy, as already applied, must be further emphasised and tightened up. … Given the fragile state of employment and the increasing shortage of decent housing, the influx of people needs to be contained, especially those with little or no added value to the economy and prosperity of St. Maarten. From now on, stricter requirements must be imposed on the financial means of those to be admitted,” it was stated in the decree.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/richardson-makes-residency-requirements-more-stringent