My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why PICA sees increase in Jamaican Citizenship applications – Asians Work Permits and Americans FATCA dodgers

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Why PICA sees increase in Jamaican Citizenship applications – Asians Work Permits and Americans FATCA dodgers

Foreigners, it seems, desperately want to become Jamaicans. Our population is slowly going to exceed the 2.7 million mark!

So says the latest stats from PICA (Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency) that revealed an 8% increase in the number of persons applying to become Jamaican citizens as reported in the article “Applications For Jamaican Citizenship Increase – PICA”, published Sunday October 11, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.


Although CEO of PICA, Jennifer McDonald claims it’s her staff that's gotten more efficient. But I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye as there has also been an increase in importation to Jamaica as noted by the Jamaica Customs Agency.

They plan to capitalize on it by possibly introducing a waiver in Customs duty for items costing US$100 as reported in my blog article entitled “Jamaica Customs Agency Stats - Why US$100 Duty Free shopping coming as Jamaicans shopping online this Christmas”. 

I know that’s cause by an increase in disposable income thanks to the price of Oil Dipping below US$50 per barrel which translates to lower gas prices in Jamaica. Also there has been an increase in remittances with some 38% of households getting increasingly larger sums of money from relatives abroad to cover their back-to-school and living expenses.

So says a July 2015 Consumer Confidence Report published by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Conference Board as reported in the article “More Households Getting Remittances And In Larger Amounts”, published Friday July 17, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So what’s causing the increase in the number of citizenship applications for Jamaican citizenship and Jamaican passports being experience by PICA?

PICA sees increase in Jamaican citizenship applications – Analysis of the Stats

The Stats from PICA for the processing of citizenship applications are as follows:

1.      2,000 citizenship applications in 2014.
2.      250,000 applications for Jamaican passports in 2014
3.      28% increase in 2014 application for Jamaican passports when compared to 2013

The stats from PICA for arriving and departing passenger indicate people on the move and makes for interesting reading:

1.      5 million arriving and departing passengers processed in 2014
2.      2.5 million arriving passengers processed in 2014
3.      6% increase in 2014 arriving passengers figure when compared to 2013
4.      2.5 million departing passengers processed in 2014
5.      5% increase in 2014 departing passengers when compared to 2013

So there  you have it folks;  there has been a slight increase in arriving passenger over departing passengers, implying that people are travelling back and forth between Jamaica.  

But what does all this mean?

Travelers are Asians and Americans – Work Permits increase as well as FATCA dodgers

There has also been an increase in the application for Jamaican passports despite the hike in May 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “PICA and the Passport Fee Hike - Jamaicans upset despite being told beforehand by Finance Minister, Dr Peter Phillips”.


I suspect most of these travellers are just Americans switchin' citizenship to avoid the coming of FATCA, which took effect on Wednesday September 30th 2015 as reported in the article “FATCA Takes Effect September 30 For Jamaica”, Published Friday August 7, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

More Americans are traveling to Jamaica to meet with their lawyers to transfer large sums of US currency, possibly using Bitcoins to make it difficult to trace. Once they've converted the cash, with the help of a local lawyer, many may opt to dumping their cash in stocks, bonds, money market instruments and Government Paper!

They also possibly buy up land and property and invest in businesses e.g. restaurants, farming, in order to make a living on the island. To make the move to Jamaica permanent, they've also switched citizenship as well, making it difficult for US authorities to pressure Jamaican banks into taxing their funds as they would in effect be Jamaicans.

However, a good majority of the travelers may be other internationals, such as Chinese and Mexican migrant workers.

According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, there has been a 23.1% increase in Work Permits being granted to them to do jobs Jamaican might be able to do as broken down in the statistics in my blog article entitled “FDI and Jamaican Work Permits granted to Foreigners – FDI increase when Infrastructure Project start due to Skilled Certified Labour Shortage”.

Thus is because there is an acute shortage of skilled certified labour in Jamaica, as FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) not knowing the Jamaican workers personally, opts to give the jobs to their own contractors and workers from their countries rather that to Jamaicans.

Many FDI (Foreign Direct Investor) fearing poor workmanship and violence from Jamaicans demanding better remuneration, resulting in work stoppages. Not to mention politically motivated violence i.e. community members in certain Political Garrison Communities in Jamaica claiming to get work because a FDI’s work contract for their project is happening within their constituency.

In short, these stats indicate Americans and foreign nationals coming to Jamaica either on Work Permit because we don’t have the skilled labour work or planning to disappear to avoid FATCA.

Hopefully as more Americans come to Jamaican and become Jamaican citizens, it'll mean more US Dollars in the economy as they'll hopefully invest in local businesses and farming instead of merely dumping their cash in stocks, bonds, money market instruments and Government Paper!



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