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Immigration warns foreigners’ to regularise status or risk…

Jul 26, 2012, 1:52 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has issued a stern warning to foreigners, who are yet to regularise their status, to do so or else risk prosecution and deportation.

The immigration department also warned landlords to desist from harbouring foreigners or tenants whose activities or means of living are not known to the landlord.

The spokesperson of the department, Assistant Superintendent of Immigration Ba Ensa Jawara, told The Point in an exclusive interview that his office will leave no stone unturned to make sure that all immigrants living in The Gambia regularised their status or face the full wrath of the law.

“I am advising all landlords to make sure that their tenants fulfill all requirements of the immigration services, and one of these requirements is to only let them stay in their compounds when they are legally recognized by the Gambia immigration department by registering with the alkalos (village head) and the immigration area officer.”

He said members of the ECOWAS countries can stay in the country for 90 days, but after the 90 days the immigrant must apply for a residential permit.

“Non-ECOWAS member states citizens can stay in the country for 56 days, after which they can also apply for a residential permit.” Ensa Jawara told The Point yesterday afternoon at his Banjul office.

The immigration mouthpiece warned: “It is illegal for landlords to accept tenants to stay in their compounds, while they don’t regularize their status with the immigration officials, because it is an offence which is serious, and for the sake of national security.”

According to him, if any landlord is caught harbouring a tenant who failed to regularise his or her status, the person will be brought before the law.

“It is the duty of the landlord to be monitoring the tenant on their activities. If a landlord sees anything that is abnormal, one can report it to the immigration or report it to any security institution so that necessary actions can be taken,” he further warned.

Jawara said the immigration department is not sitting on its laurels, and will keep sensitising the masses about the importance of aliens’ regularising their documents so that landlords can be aware of the dangers of harbouring immigrants.

“We all have a role to play in complementing each other’s role,” he said, and called on people not to harbour people who fail to regularise, their status with the immigration office.

On illegal migration, ASI Jawara said the trend has reduced drastically in 2012 as there were no reported cases of illegal migration by Gambian youths to Europe.

“If you look at the past years, we have been receiving numerous cases of illegal migration. However, through the DG of Immigration we have increased awareness campaigns, and the trend has reduced significantly,” ASI Jawara who is also the officer commanding records at the immigration department noted.

He announced the creation of professional standards unit at the immigration offices across the country, which will look into complaints brought by people about the operations of the immigration service.

“If one lodges a complaint, it will be looked into as we are here to serve the public interest. The public has the right to monitor us as we are serving them. It is our duty to work in line with the laws governing immigration in this country.

“The law is saying that if you are entering the country you must enter through a recognised entry point, and if you used an illegal route to enter you are here illegally,” ASI Jawara.

“If you are a threat to national security or an undesirable person, and your activities can affect our society, you will be deported,” he further explained.