Extract from the ST LUCIA BUDGET STATEMENT 2015
6.1.1 Making Travel Less Stressful
Mr. Speaker, in the course of preparing this Budget Statement, I invited our Social Partners and members of the public to identify some of the administrative procedures and processes in the Public Service that cause irritation. Our Government believes that we constantly need to reform our approaches to improve the quality of service to the public and of course, to leave customers who are satisfied and pleased with the services provided by the state and financed by them through taxes.
Two of the issues raised had to do with immigration procedures. Many saw no reason why citizens should be required to fill in and submit immigration forms on arrival into Saint Lucia. It was accepted that there was need to have knowledge of all arrivals into the island but, in the case of nationals, this could be accomplished by simply taking a computer record of the details of the passport.
Our Government agrees. Effective September 1, 2015, citizens of Saint Lucia will no longer be required to complete arrival forms. Between now and then, computers manned by immigration officials will be up- dated to allow for this change.
I wish to emphasise, however, that all departing or outbound travellers will still be required to fill the shorter departure or exit forms.
The second issue has to do with visitors who own properties in Saint Lucia and wish to spend an extended period of time on island to enjoy their properties. On arrival, these individuals are given a period of stay, usually seventeen days, and then are required to go to the Immigration Department for renewals of stay at a prescribed fee. Many of these individuals have no objection to paying a fee for an extended stay.
The problem seems to be the repeated visits to the Immigration Department for extensions of stay. In some cases, applicants are required to leave their passports with the Immigration Department.
The Government proposes to:
1. Introduce a scale of fees depending on the length of stay that is requested; 2. Allow the fees to be paid on arrival to minimise repeated visits to the Immigration Department.
These new arrangements will come into effect on September 1 2015, after discussions with officials of the Immigration Department.