Thirty-three foreign nationals living in Jamaica have been granted citizenship by the Government.
They were presented with documents formalising their status by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) during a citizenship oath ceremony at the Liguanea Club in St. Andrew on February 28.
The ceremony was attended by National Security Minister, Hon. Horace Chang, who has portfolio responsibility for PICA.
Mr. Chang welcomed the new Jamaican citizens and encouraged them to continue to make a positive contribution to the country, while honouring their statutory obligations.
“We have individuals from all different nationalities coming in to adopt ‘brand Jamaica’ and become fully integrated… . You are participating in many areas that are critical to socio-economic development and making a productive contribution … . It is the diversity of our people that will continue to make Jamaica a good place to work, live and raise families,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer of PICA, Andrew Wynter, pointed out that between April and December last year, approximately 3,300 persons applied for Jamaican citizenship.
“In the last 10 years, approximately 40,000 persons in all – that is approximately 4,000 persons per year, applied to become citizens of this country, and that speaks volumes for us,” he noted.
“Our Motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’, and this ceremony is a living testimony of that motto, as we merge together our different cultures, nationalities and way of life, this is what makes Jamaica unique,” he said.
The citizenship recipients are originally from Cuba, Haiti, the United States of America, Surinam, Russia, Egypt, Venezuela, Lebanon, Vietnam, Italy, Bulgaria, Myanmar and Guyana.
They were granted citizenship by virtue of marriage, registration (for Commonwealth citizens), and naturalisation (for non-Commonwealth citizens).
Other categories under which Jamaican citizenship is granted are by descent; citizenship in cases of doubt (for persons whose birth was not registered); and restoration (for persons who had previously renounced their Jamaican citizenship).
For the 2017/2018 financial year, a total of 4,077 citizenship applications were submitted to PICA. Of this number, 1,620 were from local applicants and 2,457 were from overseas.
This was an increase of 870 or 27 per cent in the number of applications received over the 2016/2017 financial year.
The descent category recorded the most applications, accounting for 86 per cent of all applications received over 2016/2017.
As at the end of the third quarter of the financial year (April to December 2018), there were 3,303 applications submitted to PICA for Jamaican citizenship.