Fee waiver being sought for persons seeking multiple extensions
Labour & Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley has indicated that a fee waiver was being looked at for persons who were forced to seek multiple extensions at the Immigration Department as a result of the Labour Department’s delayed work permit processing times.
Work permit holders seeking an extension of time in the territory are usually required to pay a fee for each extension.
“What we are trying to do is to ask the FS (Financial Secretary) if he is willing to waive the fee for persons to have to wait for two and three-time requests. I haven’t heard back from them as yet but once [the] Labour [Department] is speeding up the permit system, [the] Immigration [Department] will fall in line with that,” the Minister indicated at a recent press conference.
“The issue was always at [the] Labour [Department] in terms of getting the permits over to [the] Immigration [Department] on time,” he added.
The Minister said he was hopeful that persons having to seek multiple extensions for time in the territory would be a thing of the past very shortly.
Over the past few months, the Labour Department has faced significant challenges with processing new and renewal work permit applications, causing a backlog of more than 1,700 work permits.
This has forced persons on work permits, which are generally issued on an annual basis, to seek multiple extensions to stay in the BVI.
Many persons have since gone past six months in extended time as a result of the delays.
In the meantime, Minister Wheatley said the backlog figures did not represent permit applications that were not submitted online during the months of delays.
He also disclosed that one-third of the backlog of more than 1500 renewal work permit applications received online has since been cleared by a task force he had set up to address the issue.