The Immigration (Amendment) Bill was voted in the National Assembly yesterday. The main objectives of the Bill are to amend the Immigration Act in view of the increase in the number of cases where non-citizens marry citizens for the sole purpose of acquiring the status of a resident. Hence, the Bill will: regulate the entry and stay of non-citizens in Mauritius and make provision for the grant of Residence Permit, Occupation Permit and Permanent Residence Permit to non-citizens signifying their intention to reside in Mauritius.
Presenting the Bill to the House, the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, emphasised that as a sovereign democratic country, Mauritius has the absolute right to take such measures with a view to strengthening and consolidating its immigration legislation, while also protecting our citizens from being the victims of ill-intentioned foreigners.
The Bill makes provision for the following:
· With regard to the status of a non-citizen who is the spouse of a citizen, the bill provides that he/she shall not have the status of a resident where he was a prohibited immigrant at the time of becoming such a spouse.
· The distinct category of prohibited immigrants shall exclude persons who suffer from any physical or mental infirmity or persons who are dumb, blind or otherwise physically defective or physically handicapped and who are likely to be a burden on the State.
· If the Minister obtains reliable information or advice that certain persons are likely to be undesirable inhabitants of, or visitors to Mauritius, or likely to be prejudicial to the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health, they would be deemed to be prohibited immigrants.
It is to be noted that one of the areas of focus enunciated in the Government Programme 2015-2019 pertaining to immigration matters, relates to the formulation of a new immigration policy so as to reinforce the Immigration Act in order to cater for increasing cross-border movement of persons and its associated risks. Furthermore, the Programme also includes the introduction of regulations to address the issue of fake marriages involving locals and foreigners.