Should she have to pay for her children to live with her? A debate on immigration policy.

You are invited to join in this debate that is centered on immigration policy in Barbados.

The African Heritage Foundation (AHF ), thinks that having strong meaningful public opinions on issues that affect the development of our society, morally, spiritually, physically and economically are important to its growth. But the charity is also well aware that such public opinions can only come from a public that is well informed on the matters.

Revolution comes from the need for change. The catalyst for revolution is often times information. If more platforms can be created where issues that affect our development and empowerment as a people can be tabled, we would see more concerted actions to bring about change. Not only must the issues be discussed in public, the opinions of the people must be recorded and used in an effective manner, to cause action, in the people’s demand for change.

Stating the above is all well and good, but how can this be done? A politician once told me as we discussed the issue of decriminalizing ganja, that what really mattered to policy makers and politicians was the opinion of the people. Not that they cared per say what the people thought, but that it equated to votes. The AHF is of the opinion that media is vital to public education and opinion. In the legal case brought against a couple for homeschooling without state permission, it was the sentiment rallied by the AHF, of thousands of Barbadians via social media that helped justice to prevail. But the charity also noted that social media was not enough to keep the fire of that issue burning, and that it was the Nation Newspaper and other media houses that were really responsible for informing the masses. On the flip side of that coin, they are also responsible for under informing and not informing the masses in many cases.

The proposed debate that we will now get into is centered on the topic, “Should she need a student visa to legitimize her children’s status in Barbados”. That is the question that you will take your positions on.

The case: A couple came to the AHF seeking assistance with their application to the Ministry of Education to homeschool their two children. They were granted permission. The mother of the children is born in the United Kingdom to Barbadian parents. She has relocated to Barbados and as such needed to get her citizenship and residence documents. This she did, but by immigration policy, she was not allowed to apply for her children’s citizenship at the same time she was applying for her own. The children therefore remain on visitor’s status which has to be renewed every so often. It will take a year or two before she can apply for her children at which point they will be considered immigrants. It is being suggested by immigration, that the mother apply for student visas for her children, who are both under the age of twelve. The student visa will give the children legal status to reside on the island until their mother is eligible to apply for them. The student visas come with a cost of three hundred dollars each attached to them.

AHF’s position: We the members of the AHF are of the opinion that it is not in the best interest of the family to have a policy that does not allow parents to apply for their children at the same time they are applying for their citizenship.  It is also felt by the AHF that special consideration should be given to this mother, and that her children should be granted permission to reside with her until relevant application can be made for residency for the children. In closing on the position of the AHF, it is felt, it is unjust to ask this mother to pay six hundred dollars so her children can stay with her.

Armed with this information, you are asked to give your opinion on the issue. The question again, “should she need a student visa to legitimize her children’s status in Barbados”? Yes or No and please state why you are of your opinion.

Please note for the sake of record keeping, all responses not made on the website, will be transferred there.

Thank you for your participation.

Simba

President AHF

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