Thousands of Venezuelan migrants are expected to enter the country’s workforce following Government’s recent registration policy programme and while employment will provide many with the lifeline needed during their stay, no measures have been implemented by the government for the state’s coffers to reap any benefits.
Imam Yusuf Diab, of the Crown Point Muslim sect, applauds Government’s move to register and offer Venezuelans employment and medical services for one year.
Speaking with Guardian Media at the Crown Point Masjid on the eve of the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Imam said he is happy the Government began the initiative.
He made it clear that as an Orthodox sect, his organisation did not get involved in Governments’ affairs.
However, as a businessman, he saw “the registration as a good idea.”
Venezuelan nationals seeking employment in this country after registering in the government's amnesty, are being catered for by some companies, with bilingual application forms.
Among those companies is Prestige Holdings, which has now adapted its forms with Spanish translations to ensure that the Venezuelan nationals could understand.
Prestige Holdings is the parent company of Subway, KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and Starbucks.
The registration process runs from May 31 to June 14.
Chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh says that time is up for the Venezuelan migrants who have been staying at Irwin Park, Siparia for the last two weeks.
As they leave on Tuesday, Ramadharsingh said that they will be presented with mattresses and other items that have been collected for them over that time.
He said that he has ensured that all of the migrants have gone through the registration process of Government’s amnesty.
Some of the 115 Venezuelans who completed registration at Achievers Banquet Hall in San Fernando on Friday say they are surprised at the line of questions they were asked during their brief interviews by Immigration.
Some expressed fear of being persecuted politically if the information they divulged was shared.
Speaking to Guardian Media through our translator Angie Ramnarine, Venezuelan Juan Fernandes said the questions were limited and did not take into account their medical problems or their medical needs.
Hours before the official start of registration began, hundreds of Venezuelans began assembling outside of Achievers Banquet Hall at Duncan Village, San Fernando.
Most had spent the night having walked with chairs and cushions in anticipation for a long night. Accustomed to having to line up for basic amenities in their home country, the Venezuelans were in good spirits, eagerly expressing their appreciation for the T&T people who had assisted them.
The Central Bank Governor has estimated that it will cost the state around $620 million dollars a year to support the Venezuelans who have migrated to this country.
Dr Alvin Hilaire said at first he was skeptical about that figure but then said after looking at the impact on Colombia, that 600-odd million-dollar figure seemed plausible.
Colombia has so far taken in almost 1.2 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees. This has cost that country around 0.4% of its GDP.