Court grants Jamaican students permission to challenge Immigration Division in Trinidad

By CMC

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(CMC) – A High Court judge has given three Jamaican students permission to challenge the decision of the Immigration Division to refuse to renew their student permits that would have allowed them to remain here to study Hinduism at a school in Central Trinidad.

Justice Ricky Rahim has granted leave to Ravi Rambarran, the students’ sponsor, to file for judicial review and seek an injunction preventing the deportation of the students back to Jamaica.

The State has however agreed not to deport them until the case is determined by the judge. The matter has been adjourned to February 22, next year.

In October, attorney Saira Lakhan, wrote to the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) for an explanation, and filed the action in the San Fernando High Court, south of here.

A certificate of urgency filed in support of the injunction application said there was urgency since the three students want to visit their family for the Christmas holidays and are at risk of being removed from Trinidad.

The lawsuit contends that the three expressed a strong interest in Hinduism and its teachings which were not available in Jamaica.

The court heard that the students lived in a tenement yard in Jamaica, and since their parents were not able to support them financially in Jamaica, Rambarran agreed to sponsor them so that they could attend the Chinmaya Vidalaya High School.

The lawsuit also said the three were accepted by the school June 8, 2017, and they followed all the necessary guidelines for registration of a non-national in a school locally. They were also granted student permits, which expired in July, and their sponsor paid their school fees.

In July, the students went to the Immigration Division in July to renew their permits and on September 25, they again met with an immigration officer who stamped “approval” on the permits, and the extension fees were paid. Their school fees were also paid by their sponsor.

But the lawsuit notes that on October 12, another immigration officer contacted the school, telling them their permits were declined and that the institution was liable to a fine of TT$50,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents0 for having the three remain there.

To date, the lawsuit claims, there has been no official correspondence from the Immigration Division on why the students’ permits were declined.

The students, who were not identified, said they were devastated and distressed about having to return to school in Jamaica and accused the Immigration Division of depriving them of opportunities for religious and educational advancement.

The judge in his order granted Rambarran permission to seek several declarations, and an order compelling the Chief Immigration Officer to make a decision within seven days on their application for an extension of their student permit, and an order that they receive that extension.

Rambarran was given 14 days in which to file his judicial review claim.

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