The Governor of Montserrat, His Excellency, Frank Savage LVO, OBE announced today that the British Government has agreed exceptionally to allow Montserratians currently resident in Montserrat to enter the United Kingdom for a period of up to two years. Montserratians who wish to avail themselves of the scheme, must be able to travel to the UK at their own expense and will need to have a sponsor in the UK with whom they could initially stay. Montserratians would be able to take employment, would be eligible for income support and housing benefit, and children would be enrolled in local schools.
It is expected that most Montserratians will wish to travel in family groups. The main applicant in each family, or an individual traveling alone, should obtain an application form from Administration Department, currently relocated at Olveston House in Olveston. Forms will be available daily between 0900 and 1200.
After completion, forms should be returned to Administration Department with passports for all family group members, details of their travel plans and proof that they were resident in Montserrat on 1 April 1996. Forms may be counter-signed by an established Civil Servant, doctor, nurse, teacher, school secretary, police officer, fire officer, prison officer, Minister of Religion, lawyer, employer or someone holding similar qualifications. These forms will then be sent by fax to the United Kingdom so that Immigration Officers at the airport of arrival are aware that special considerations apply.
Arrangements can be made for children under 18 who are normally resident with family in Montserrat and who were evacuated to relatives in other Caribbean islands or the United Kingdom at the start of volcanic activity.
Nationals of other countries who have been resident in Montserrat for some years should write to the Permanent Secretary, Administration if they wish to be considered under this scheme. Each case will be examined individually.
The Government of Montserrat will be hosting a ministerial mission of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM at the weekend of Friday, April 26, 1996. Chief Minister, the Honourable Reuben Meade says arrangements for voluntary off-island evacuation to neighboring member states will be discussed during that meeting. Governments of the Caribbean Community have indicated a willingness to provide timely assistance to Montserrat.
Over four thousand (4,000) people on Montserrat were relocated to community centres, churches, schools and as guests of residents of north Montserrat since April 3, 1996 in the island's third relocation since volcanic activity started on July 18th, 1995.
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