He made the calls on the May 25, 2021, edition of his Honestly Speaking radio show on ZBVI 780am.
“I would suggest that there be a suspension of this immigration policy, that sends people out the country only to come back when the people have already demonstrated that they either weren’t moving from one employee to another, they have become gainfully employed [or] there already have the stuff processed,” he said.
Skelton-Cline said the tedious process of having people leave the territory for work permit processing and return only to be faced with COVID-19 entry policies or having to find overseas accommodations is something that should not be in the current pandemic.
It should be noted that there is a system in place where work permit holders changing jobs or who have been terminated due to COVID-19 and would like to seek alternative employment can apply for a conditional permit from the Chief Immigration Officer.
However, people are only eligible for this conditional permit, valid for three months, if they were residing in the VI for at least five years and have not received a conditional permit in the last three years.
They also have to prove they can sustain themselves financially while in the territory.
According to Skelton-Cline; however, persons changing jobs during this pandemic should not be allowed to leave the territory at this time.
“We have to be able to be nimble and to exercise some greater prudence in navigating our way through these waves,” he said.
The man of the cloth further called on the Labour and Immigration departments to act rationally and move to temporarily suspend the policy forcing authorities to send people out of the country.
“It seems like to me that there are some simple ways in which we can begin to address a lot of these matters that continue to frustrate people, in an effort to bring the country and therefore the economy back on full stream,” he said.