This was revealed in the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands’ Post Meeting Statement of April 14, 2021. His Excellency, the Governor Mr John J. Rankin, CMG, had chaired the Meeting held at the Financial Services Commission’s Conference Room where all Members were present and reviewed and approved the updated Work in Paradise Programme (WIPP) policy.
Cabinet decided that the visa requirements for persons utilising the WIPP from countries requiring visas to enter the Territory be waived and also approved the waiver of Social Security payments; National Health Insurance (NHI) payments (to be offset by mandatory private insurance for WIPP awardees and dependents while in VI); Work permit fees; and Customs duties (small personal items for use during the approved period).
According to the Post Meeting Statement of Cabinet, it determined “that the cost of the programme be based on the following: i. Individual $1,500 ii. Couple $2,000 iii. Family $2,750 iv. Dependent $500 v. Other (Nanny, Chef, etc) $250.00.”
It is unclear what is the duration of stay for the cost given.
Cabinet noted; however, that any period of time a WIPP awardee is resident in the Territory cannot be contributed to or considered as qualifying years for permanent status.
Cabinet also approved the introduction of a penalty of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for persons found to be in contravention of the work restrictions under the policy, and the barring of re-entry for the programme or to take up employment with any local entity for a period of ten (10) years.
Cabinet also approved the barring of any WIPP awardee from taking up employment with a local entity or person, save for Government or Quasi-Government entities, for up to five (5) years after their departure from the programme.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), in a statement on April 16, 2021, said under the WIPP persons will be able to come to the territory and work at their remote jobs; however, those jobs cannot be from the Virgin Islands.
“They can come to the BVI and stay for an extended period. During this time, they will not be able to work for any local company or business. But they can perform their foreign-based job.”
He said persons will be able to access hotels, villas, apartments, car rentals, taxi, and tour operators, restaurants and other local services.
“But they will be paying for it with their foreign earnings, and that means we will be drawing in money from outside of the Territory, which will be going into our economy,” Premier Fahie assured.