There has been much discussion about certain children residing in TCI who are considered to be stateless or status-less. I will not dwell too much on this discussion as I believe we have concluded that there are no stateless or status-less children in TCI as children can obtain the status of their parents.
However, a serious issue regarding children of TCI descent will soon become if not already a major debacle. Let us take a look at this scenario. TCI status parents A and B gave birth to child C overseas. Child C will get TCI status through their parents. Child C married non Turks and Caicos Islander D and they gave birth to child E overseas. Child E will get status through their grandparents A and B. Child E gave birth to child D overseas with a non-Turks and Caicos Islander but child D who is the great grandchild of A and B cannot get Turks and Caicos Islander status by descent. The law stops at grandchildren.
I know this is a sensitive issue as some locals feel that children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of TCI descent that migrated to TCI should not have the same rights as locals that live here in TCI and never left. The truth though is that if you are a Turks and Caicos Islander whether acquired through grant or descent, you have and should have the same rights.
This law will affect us too that live here because many of us are having our children abroad, our grandchildren are born abroad and our great grandchildren are born abroad too and their parents may not be Turks and Caicos Islander. The great grandchildren are living in TCI but will not be able to get Turks and Caicos Islander status easily. The great grandchildren will have to apply for a work permit at age 18 in order to work legally in TCI. I may be wrong as I am not an expert in immigration matters and I stand to be corrected but I have consulted with lawmakers and politicians who confirm that great grandchildren cannot get status through TCI descent as the law stops at grandchildren.
Current options to work and live legally in TCI
- The great grandchildren will have to get a residence permit in order to live legally with their parents until age 18.
- At age 18, if they want to work, they will have to get a work permit preferably a free-lance work permit so they can work anywhere.
- The children can also make application for British Overseas citizenship and then can apply for Turks and Caicos Citizen after three years
- If the child is under 18, a TC Islander can adopt the child and get status.
- If the great grandchildren were born in TCI and live here for 10 years, they can apply for British Overseas citizenship.
Support to include the 4th generation
The TCI is such a unique place in that the local population is outnumbered by the expatriate population. However, we can increase our local population if we encourage the Turks and Caicos Islanders and their descendants living abroad to live in TCI. However, given the current law ending at the 3rd generation, this will become a deterrent for many to return if the great grand-children will need a work permit. Therefore, I propose that we amend our legislation to include up to the 4th generation. Hopefully the 4th generation will assimilate and mingled with Turks and Caicos Islanders and so when they have children the 5th generation and so forth will qualified for Turks and Caicos Islanders status.
If we don’t do something now, the Turks and Caicos Islanders local population will become a fraction of the overall population.
I must admit this topic has been mind boggling for me. I believe if a third generation becomes a citizen through descent, then he or she should be able to obtain citizenship for their children. Once you are a citizen, you are a citizen. Ironically though part of the Turks and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance states that if a child is born outside the TCI and one of the parents has island status and has settled that child can get status. In addition, if a child is adopted by someone with a Turks and Caicos island status that child can get Turks and Caicos Islands Status. Therefore I cannot comprehend why a fourth generation would be prohibited from getting status especially given the size of our local population.
In conclusion, many persons are advocating for Turks and Caicos status for the children of illegal immigrants while children of Turks and Caicos descent may need a work permit to live and work in TCI when they get 18. This is unfair and needs to be corrected.