Guyanese on temporary contracts in US will not get gov't help in changing status

Stabroek News
May 8, 2003

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The government has taken a decision not to provide Guyanese, including teachers and nurses, now on temporary employment contracts in the USA with no-objection statements which would allow them to change their temporary employment status to that of a landed immigrant.

However, students, researchers and those involved in academic pursuits in the USA and on temporary visas would be provided with no-objection statements to enable them to proceed with their efforts to acquire landed immigrant status.

This move is seen as a response to the continued exodus of Guyana's most experienced teachers and nurses to more lucrative positions overseas.

Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon at his regular post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday said that professionals, mainly teachers and nurses, were requesting changes in visa status which required a no-objection statement from the Guyana government.

Luncheon said that the government's no-objection statement was a critical achievement for professionals because it allowed the American authorities to process their applications for landed immigrant status. The requests come largely from teachers and nurses, he said noting that more recently they were from teachers who had been recruited to work mostly on the US East Coast. They are now making the requests to convert their temporary employment status to permanent resident status. He said that Cabinet had declined as a matter of policy to offer no-objection statements to this category of applicants.

Asked whether the decision infringed the rights of these professionals, Luncheon said, "obviously, Cabinet did not think so and not in the context of travelling. The enjoyment of their human rights in North America could hardly be infringed by the policy decision of the government."

He said these professionals were in North America and obviously were in consultation with legions of immigration lawyers and others, having been able to identify specific avenues to remain there.

In granting no-objection statements for students, researchers and others involved in academic pursuits, he said that Cabinet was addressing the merit of such applications.

While the policy decision applies to professionals, he said that the current decision did not mean that it could not be overturned later.

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