The process of relocating to Jamaica after a period of residence abroad entails direct contact with Government Agencies and Departments, as well as with airlines, shippers and customs brokers. In order to simplify the relevant procedures, a major component in the Charter for Long-Term Returning Residents has been the establishment of the Jamaicans Overseas Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston which offers assistance in dealing with the various problems which may arise.
Roles of the Jamaicans Overseas & Consular Affairs Department
The Jamaicans Overseas Department (formerly the Returning Residents Facilitation Unit) is designed to function as a focal point for transmission of information to and from overseas-based Jamaicans, either directly, or through Jamaica’s Overseas Missions.
The Department also liaises closely with the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies including:
- The Ministry of National Security on matters of nationality, citizenship and immigration procedures;
- The Customs Department on matters relating to eligibility for concessions, and the importation and clearance of personal and household effects, tools of trade, vehicles and other items;
- The Trade Board Limited on matters relating to the issue of Import Licenses;
- The Ministry of Commerce, Science & Technology and the Ministry of Finance & Planning on matters relating to Motor Vehicle Policy;
- The Offices of the Services Commission on matters related to the Skills Bank Facility;
- The Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Commerce, Science & Technology and the Ministry of Water & Housing on matters relating to the provision of utility services to persons re-establishing their home in Jamaica;
- The Ministry of Commerce, Science & Technology and JAMPRO on matters relating to Investment Policy and business Start-Ups.
Functions of the Jamaicans Overseas & Consular Affairs Department
Among the important tasks performed by the Jamaicans Overseas Department are:
- The administration of the Returning Residents Programme including the provision of essential information to returning Jamaicans.
- The monitoring of procedures relating to the relocation process; the identification of problems; and the facilitation of solutions as appropriate.
- The promotion of the interest of overseas Jamaicans seeking to provide skills and services, including the circulation of curriculum vitae / resumes of qualified persons seeking to explore employment opportunities.
- The promotion of the development of a policy supportive of the interests of overseas Jamaican communities in their respective host countries.
- The encouragement and mobilization of Jamaicans abroad to promote relationships of mutual support which assists national development.
The Department is geared to assist in individual cases of difficulty, and, where it is apparent that a number of persons are experiencing the same problem, the Department will be instrumental in alerting the appropriate Ministry or Agency, and in working with them to take corrective action. In the same way, it will keep abreast of changes in the relevant procedures and regulations, and make such information available on a continuous and timely basis.
The services of the Jamaicans Overseas Department are extended through the network of Jamaica’s Diplomatic and Consular Missions provide a vital linkage with nationals living abroad. All Missions have therefore been provided with supplies of this Information Pack and are aware of its operational details.
Additionally, because in some countries and some locales there are significant concentrations of people of Jamaican origin, special Returning Residents Information Desks have been established in the following Missions:
- Jamaican High Commission, Ottawa
- Jamaican Consulate-General, Toronto
- United Kingdom Jamaican High Commission, London
- United States Jamaican Embassy, Washington, D.C.
- Jamaican Consulate-General, New York
- Jamaican Consulate-General, Miami.
In each of these Missions a Consular Officer has been designated to assist Returning Residents. You are invited to contact the Mission nearest to you, and seek clarification on any aspect of planning your return to Jamaica. If you are unable to make a personal visit to a Mission, please make contact by mail, telephone, fax or email, and your request will be dealt with promptly.
In countries where there is no Diplomatic or Consular Mission assistance, information can be sought directly from the Jamaicans Overseas Department in Kingston. Similarly, if you are in Jamaica on a visit prior to relocation, you are encouraged to visit the Jamaicans Overseas Department for any information you may require.