St. Maarten Immigration policy
Resurfacing after the global lock-down of 2020 has been an ever-changing ordeal that has left many St. Maarten business owners often times with more questions than answers – particularly as it relates to immigration policy. Also stemming from the pandemic is a greater interest from foreign employees working from remote, especially in connection to persons offering professional services from the comfort of the Caribbean to the international market.
Most of us that have been living for many years on St Maarten, can recall (particularly prior to the pandemic), when the immigration process was more of a “do-it-yourself” option. There was not a real need for a qualified immigration specialist to ensure your file was truly compliant. Compliance in St Maarten – like in many other jurisdictions – is more likely to be placed at the forefront, as countries make efforts to preserve and protect their respective economies.
Here are some important details you need to consider before advancing on your immigration process in St Maarten:
1. Income earning levels for Guarantors have increased – The minimum requirements for guarantors was previously set at an annual income earnings level of NAF 24,000 (USD 13,334); however, as of June 1st 2021 this minimum threshold has been raised by approximately 50 percent. Additionally, the earnings must now be verified by way of filed tax declarations, supported by bank statements, pay slips, and job letter if required.
2. The difference between indefinite and permanent – Compliance is key everywhere we go and as a non-national legally residing in a foreign country, your stay has direct ties to your compliance and adherence to the local requirements and regulations of that jurisdiction. It is important to emphasize this, because in past many people have mistakenly used the term “permanent” to describe a residency permit that has no explicit expiration date. Non-compliance to tax policy, as well as inability to provide sufficient means of income can be reason for an indefinite residency to be revoked. Please remain mindful that residency permits are not “permanent” and can indeed be rescinded or revoked for non-compliance.
3. Managing Directors must show detailed business activity – Managing director programs are also under more scrutiny to protect the local labor market, as well as to ensure that those being granted a temporary residency permit are actually investing in, and exploiting, a business on island. This must be supported for first-time applicants with evidence of sufficient funds to start the business (a minimum reserve of NAF 36,000/USD 20,000) is the benchmark currently observed. Applicants for extension must show fiscal activity supported by monthly tax declarations, as well as annual tax filings. Although employment of a national is not currently a requirement, it is strongly encouraged.
Choosing your immigration services provider is now, more so than before, a very important decision that can have an impact on your livelihood and plans for many years to come. Verifiable experience, trust and reputation should be your deciding factors rather than simply price and location. The Team at BrightPath consists of multiple members with over 30 years of collective experience in the immigration and business incorporation services sector.
With tens of millions of dollars of client investments to St Maarten with the support of BrightPath, a regional presence in the English-speaking Caribbean, and more than 1,800 files handled in the past 8 years of business – it’s understandable why BrightPath continues to be the most recognized and trusted immigration services provider for the Caribbean.