“What we doing here today is timely. It comes at a time when we must do business differently, living and working in the New Regular with COVID-19. Firstly, it means that there is an electronic record of information, interactions and transactions. This helps us with ensuring accountability, transparency and governance. We have put in place the right legislation to ensure this information is kept safe and secure, but also so that it is able to be shared appropriately between Government offices,” Premier Fahie said at the virtual launch on July 12, 2021.
“Secondly, this helps us to automate processes, cut inefficiencies and better serve the public, granting access to the services they need faster and more professionally.”
He said the third benefit would be to assist the territory to retain its international standing as an attractive place to do business in and with as many countries already use online portals like this, and people now expect the ease of conducting processes online.
Additionally, “it will help us to continue our growth as an important international business and finance centre.”
Premier Fahie stated that the success of this new initiative now paves the way for more of our services moving online and the financial, social and legal benefits that come with it.
“This is indeed innovative; this is innovation, and this is being proactive by your Government and all the Public Officers and the Deputy Governor who have helped this to come to fruition, including the members of the House of Assembly overall who passed the suite of Legislation. This is now when we get to see the fruits of our Labour. Once again, I am very pleased with this because we have promised the people this for so long.”
He expressed that it was encouraging to know that persons can stay anywhere in the [British] Virgin Islands and anywhere in the world and conduct business.
Premier Fahie also praised Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) and his team at the Ministry, and Labour and Immigration departments for pushing the online work permit system forward.
“Having seen it in action, we can all agree that it is an important development in the transformation of Government services. This is the first step in being able to offer more e-Government services which will ensure continuous and easy to access services for the people of the Virgin Islands and those that want to work and invest here. As we face stay at home orders, due to the COVID-19 situation, this development towards an increase in e-Government services has come at a crucial time,” he remarked.
The online work permit system is slated to enhance the way that work permits are processed by streamlining the process and reduce in-person contact, now an important element in the midst of the global health crisis.
Employers and employees will be able to track the progress of applications on the new platform, which will also notify users if they are missing any supporting documentation that would be needed to move their applications forward.
In a live update to the territory on May 3, 2020, Honourable Wheatley had said the system was awaiting critical legislation to be passed.
“As Minister, I am keen on having this system put into place, as it will aid greatly, in the advancement of work permit processing, in this very critical time,” Hon Wheatley had said.