(CMC) The Antigua and Barbuda government Monday warned nationals against engaging in a practice of volunteering to act as sponsors to facilitate the visit of non-nationals to the country
In a statement, the Department of Immigration said it wanted to advise all persons that the act of serving as a sponsor for a non-national “is a serious undertaking that comes with many responsibilities,” adding: “it is therefore not something to be taken lightly.
“The person acting as a sponsor is responsible for ensuring that the non-national obeys the laws of Antigua and Barbuda during the period of his/her stay and to return to his/her country of origin at the expiration of his/her legal time in Antigua and Barbuda.”
The Department of Immigration said it has observed that persons are presenting themselves as sponsors for individuals visiting the country and that soon after the person arrives, forego all responsibilities related to the non-national.
“The Department wishes to inform all sponsors that they are responsible for the visitor and should he/she wish to cease being a sponsor, that he/she should visit the Department of Immigration accompanied by the non-national and make this known to the department. This is to ensure that proper monitoring of the non-national for the remaining time in the country. “
The Department gave no indication as to whether or not those persons were engaged in any scheme to circumvent the immigration rules here, but said that it also wanted to notify all non-nationals who are out of legal time and are desirous of remaining in the country, to visit the Department to have their status regularised.
“The Department wishes to inform all persons who are in breach of this regulation that it is an offence to remain beyond the time that they are permitted to be in the country. Therefore, anyone found in breach may be subject to the penalties prescribed in the Passport and Immigration Act,” the statement added.