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Canadian passport (1993-2002).

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Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

Jamaican Gleaner

WESTERN BUREAU:

As children born in Jamaica, they played dandy shandy, bat and ball, hopscotch and jacks. As adults, they have invested in real estate and played a pivotal role in sustaining remittances to the country.

However, once they land at the Norman Manley or Sangster International airports here, the words on the immigration form ‘Birthplace – Jamaica’ seem to mean nothing.

A number of them – Canadian-Jamaicans are now fuming over immigration procedures which allow them only a three-month stay in their country of birth and anything over 90 days requires an application for extension and comes at a cost of J$10,000.00. According to an immigration officer, that policy applies even if it’s a one-day extension.

“The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency is now an executive agency. It doesn’t matter where you are born, once you own a foreign passport, there is no more 90 days,” said the officer.

But for Patsy Morris, a Jamaican-born nurse who lives in Canada, this is all confusing. “When we get back to Canada, they say to us ‘ Welcome home’. I would like to find out … who are we?” she asked.

She added, “We were born in Jamaica, live abroad but visit home every year. We have a Canadian passport, but in the passport the stated place of birth is Jamaica.” 

For Hubert Wilson, an entrepreneur, who has resided in Canada for 19 years, he feels the fact that Jamaicans overseas are unofficial ambassadors for the country, they deserve to be treated with some level of respect. “The number of people I recommend to Jamaica, I should be working with the tourist board. I am an unofficial ambassador, and most of us here are selling the country, that’s what we do.” continue reading

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