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JM | Jul 7, 2022

PICA initiative to benefit Jamaican Diaspora in Toronto

/ Our Today

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Access Jamaica initiative allows persons in the diaspora to access PICA services will be held from July 7 to 10

Jamaicans living in Toronto, Canada are set to benefit from the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Access Jamaica initiative.

This initiative, which allows persons in the Diaspora to access the services of PICA will be held from July 7 to 10 at the Ebenezer Holiness Church of God located at 101 Rossdean Drive, North York in Toronto.

Persons who went to Canada as children on their parents’ passports will now, as adults, be able to apply for their passports at PICA’s Access Jamaica.

PICA will also facilitate citizenship applications. This means that if persons are married to Canadians and want their spouses to become Jamaican citizens, PICA will accommodate that transaction. Unconditional landing will also be a service offered.

From July 7 to 9, the event will start at 9:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm and, on the afternoon July 10, business starts at 2:00 pm and ends at 6:00 pm. Once persons have paid for the services to be conducted, it will take approximately 20 working days to complete the process.

Accessing the services

Persons can register for Access Jamaica by visiting PICA’s website at pica.gov.jm and click on the Access Jamaica link. Access Jamaica is being done in partnership with GraceKennedy Money Services, Tax Administration Jamaica and Victoria Mutual Building Society.

Andrew Wynter, chief executive officer (CEO) of PICA, explains that PICA selected Canada as its next stop for Access Jamaica, due to the high number of Jamaicans living in the area.

According to him, “Toronto has the largest body of Jamaicans in Canada and we have not put this on in any city outside of the United States”.

Continuing, he further explains that, “based on the demand that we have heard from the persons in Canada, as well as after discussions with the Consul General of Jamaica in Toronto, we recognise the need for a number of persons who require these services”.

In outlining some of the services that will be offered at the four-day event, Wynter says persons can have their passports renewed or replaced or issued for the first time or persons applying for citizenship by descent for their children.

Helping with post lockdown immigration challenges

Speaking with the Jamaica Information Service, the PICA CEO stated that it was decided that this was a good opportunity, both to support the consulate and also to assist Jamaicans living in Canada, who have been having some issues, because of the various lockdowns that have gone on during the pandemic.

ndrew Wynter, chief executive officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency. (Photo: pica.gov.jm)

Wynter made the point that “some Jamaicans, they now have their Canadian citizenship, but they are Jamaicans. So, rather than have two passports, we can provide, from an immigration perspective, what is called an unconditional landing. So, once they have landed, that stamp now facilitates them ease of entry into the country at any time”.

He noted that, when persons attend the event, they should carry their birth and/or marriage certificate to allow for a seamless process.

Wynter advised: “I would also recommend that if they’re applying for citizenship for the children, they need to bring the child’s birth certificate and two pictures for the child. If they’re renewing the old blue passports, they will need to bring their birth certificates or their marriage certificate, two pictures, a completed passport form and a Canadian-issued ID.”

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