British Virgin Islands makes it harder for expats to get work permits

Published:  4 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, Immigration, Jobs
The Prime Minister of the BVI has promised policies designed to restrict the numbers of expat employees.

BVI’s PM Andrew Fahie made it clear during Sunday’s televised address that the archipelago’s borders are about to close for the majority of expats attempting to arrive for work purposes. His solutions include expats already in residence as well as those searching for work. A new reform package aimed at immigration and work permit requirements is under review and will include far stricter screening processes for both immigrants and expats already in employment.

The government’s new stance on the employment of expatriates is based on public comments and suggestions at a number of open events attended by government officials, and is likely to spur an exodus to friendlier climes of many expats who don’t qualify for the BVI’s new ‘belongers’ status. According to the PM, the moves will protect existing jobs for both ‘belongers’ and the BVI workforce as well as making it easier for BV Islanders to get and keep jobs.

Having assured BV Islanders about jobs, the PM admitted there’s a backlog of applications from expats requesting regularised status, adding the issue must be solved before the new laws can finally be effective. In the BVI parliament, the PM is also the finance minister, a dual-job position which gives control over the majority of planning and implementation issues facing the islands at present. Employers may well be less than thrilled about the new screening procedures to be implemented, not only for new expat applicants but also for those already holding work permits for existing jobs.

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