Residents whose entry permit, work permit or work permit exemption expired last year are being asked to contact the Immigration Department and the Department of Labour and Workforce Development immediately to make appointments to regularise their status in the territory, government announced Tuesday.

These appointments will allow residents to become regularised even if they are waiting to collect the required certificates from the Social Security Board, National Health Insurance, and the Inland Revenue Department, Chief Immigration Officer Ian Penn said in a press release.

“We understand that 2020 was a difficult year that was filled with many unforeseen obstacles,” Mr. Penn said. “However, we have to find the best way forward. The Immigration Department jointly with the Department of Labour and Workforce Development are working together to rectify the issues that our clients have faced and continue to face due to the pandemic.”

Anyone whose work permit or exemption expired between March and May 2020 should make an appointment with the departments in February, according to GIS.

Residents whose permits expired between June and August 2020 should make appointments in March.

And anyone whose permits expired between September and December 2020 should make an appointment in April.

Anyone with expired documents who refuses to make an appointment or make themselves available to the Immigration Department by April 30 will be penalised, GIS stated.

“Covid-19 has forced us to change the way in which we live and the way that we conduct our businesses,” said Deputy Labour Commissioner Michelle McLean. “This waiver was one of many initiatives that the Department of Labour and Workforce Development and the Immigration Department has jointly created to assist in facilitating effective and efficient processes for our clients during this time.”