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(JAMAICA GLEANER) A total of 10,626 Jamaicans overstayed their United States (US) non-immigrant tourism/business (B1/B2) visas between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security has reported.
This is a jump by 1,073 when compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, according to the agency’s Fiscal Year 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.
Over the period, 312,667 Jamaicans were granted entry to the US and were expected to depart the country during that window of time.
The department said that for that period, it has no departure records for 10,242 Jamaicans (now classified as suspected in-country overstays), and 384 Jamaicans left the US after their authorised period of admission expired (out-of-country overstays).
The agency said that based on the above figures, Jamaica has a total overstay rate of 3.40 per cent and a suspected in-country overstay rate of 3.28 per cent.
This is a slight increase when compared to the corresponding period the previous year.
For the 2017 reporting year, Jamaica had a total overstay rate of 3.16 per cent and a suspected in-country overstay rate of 3.04 per cent.
Troubled by the number of travellers to the US who overstay their B1/B2 visas, President Donald Trump has asked the secretary of state, in consultation with the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security, to provide recommendations to address the issue.
“Non-immigrant visa overstay rates are unacceptably high for nationals of certain countries. Aliens must abide by the terms and conditions of their visas for our immigration system to function as intended. Although the United States benefits from legitimate non-immigrant entry, individuals who abuse the visa process and decline to abide by the terms and conditions of their visas, including their visa departure dates, undermine the integrity of our immigration system and harm the national interest,” Trump said in an April 2019 memorandum.
He said attention will be given to countries with a total overstay rate greater than 10 percent in the combined B1 and B2 non-immigrant visa categories based on the Department of Homeland Security’s 2018 report.
“This engagement should identify conditions contributing to high overstay rates among nationals of those countries and methods to address those conditions,” he said.
Jamaica will not be affected as the country has a B1/B1 overstay rate of 3.40%.
For the reporting period, the African nation of Djibouti had the highest total overstay rate, 44.67 per cent.
Other countries with a rate above 10 per cent are Liberia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
Trumps said recommended actions to stem the problem may include suspending or limiting entry of nationals of those countries who hold B1 or B2 visas; targeted suspension of visa issuance for certain nationals; limits to duration of admission, to be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security; and additional documentary requirements.