The draft Immigration Policy and draft Immigration Ordinance 2011 are now available for public consultation. Copies are available online at www.sainthelena.gov.sh/pages/public-consultations.html or from the Clerk of Councils, Miss Gina Benjamin, at the Castle.
Each week we will focus on a particular area of the draft Policy answering some of the anticipated questions. This week we focus on St Helenian Status. This is covered under Section 3 of the draft Immigration Policy.
Question: How is St Helenian Status acquired?
There are three ways in which a person can acquire St Helenian Status (1) through birth, (2) through descent or (3) through application.
Question: How does a person get St Helenian Status through birth?
In the simplest terms, a child born on St Helena whose mother or father has St Helenian Status will also have St Helenian Status. This is a subject that can get quite complicated, however, as we need to take into account that the law has been changed over time and different people acquired their St Helenian Status under different rules. If there is a particular case you would like to discuss, do come and talk to one of the Immigration Officers.
Question: How does a person get St Helenian Status through descent?
In the simplest terms, if you were born outside St Helena but you have a parent or grandparent with St Helenian Status by right of birth, you in turn have St Helenian Status by right of descent. This is known as the second generation rule i.e. that someone with St Helenian Status by right of birth can pass this down to two further generations. Again, this can get quite complicated so do come and talk to one of the Immigration Officers if you have a particular query.
Question: What changes are proposed to St Helenian Status through birth or descent?
The answer is ‘none’ as this area of the law was extensively reviewed in 2008. The draft Immigration Policy and draft Bill reflect what is in the Immigration Ordinance 2008.
Question: How does a person get St Helenian Status through application?
If a person does not have St Helenian Status through birth or descent, they can apply to the Immigration Control Board to be granted St Helenian Status. The proposed rules for this are set out in Section 3.3 of the draft Immigration Policy. The main changes in comparison to the existing rules are that:
- The rules for spouses of St Helenians will also apply to the life partners.
- The spouse or life partner of a St Helenian may apply for St Helenian Status after 3 years on-island, instead of the current 5 years.
- All others may apply for St Helenian Status after 5 years on-island, instead of the current 7 years.