No transfer of authority for work permits to Saba

A practical solution is being sought with all stakeholders to speed up the issuing of work permits in Saba. For now, there will be no transfer of this authority to the public entity Saba.

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament of this fact during the handling of the draft 2020 Kingdom Relations budget in the Second Chamber on Thursday.

Knops and Van Raak in discussion.

Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP), during the first day of the plenary handling on Tuesday, made a passionate plea to transfer the authority of issuing work permits to Saba. He emphasised that this had been a strong wish of the entire Second Chamber since 2015 and accused the civil servants at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW in The Hague of stalling.

Knops announced that, in mutual cooperation, the Ministry of SZW through the National Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND and the public entity Saba were looking for practical possibilities to speed up the issuing of work permits.

The objective is to assess the practical possibilities to simplify and accelerate the process of work permits. Case consultation is taking place to see where things can be improved,” stated Knops. He said the results would be discussed in November, after which the Second Chamber would be informed.

Van Raak was not amused by Knops’ response and made clear that he did not want new regulations. “For five years, all parties in this Parliament have asked to arrange that Saba can process its own work permits. Five years of pushing, pulling and dragging, and what is the result? Three ministries and God-knows-how-many civil servants are again adapting the regulations for Saba. But that is not what we asked for.”

Knops replied that he disagreed with Van Raak. “The objective that we need to achieve is to make it more workable for Saba to get work permits issued faster. The issue is not whether they should do it themselves or not. The issue is that the Dutch regulations are causing delay and a long turnaround; in other words, bureaucracy.” He acknowledged that the long time it takes to issue work permits impedes the economy.

Van Raak was not satisfied with Knops’ justification for looking for a practical solution.

“It is nonsense to have Dutch regulations for work permits in Saba. I don’t want any Dutch regulations or meddling. Saba needs to be able to do this on its own. I am giving the state secretary and the entire government one more chance. Fix this before Christmas, otherwise I will invite the entire government, all ministers and the prime minister, here. And I am not excluding that I will get support from the Parliament.”

The Daily Herald.

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