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Wheatley denies being overtly penal to work permit holders

Wheatley denies being overtly penal to work permit holders

Minister for Labour & Immigration, Vincent Wheatley has denied being overtly penal to work permit holders in the territory, noting instead that he is a compassionate person.

Appearing on the Honestly Speaking radio show recently, Minister Wheatley said there has been various negative comments about his administration’s Labour and Immigration policies since their time in office.

The minister argued, that contrary to what people think, he is not making decisions based on love or hate.

He stated: “So, they say because I make this decision, I hate this group, or because I did this here, I love this group. So, when we came in and regularised about 1,500 persons, ‘oh, you only like these outsiders, that’s why you doing this’. I come now I do something to protect locals, ‘oh, you hate outsiders’, and none of them had to do with like or hate. We were sent here to work for our people.”

According to the Labour Minister, his government’s policies are implemented to empower and to help its people while showing compassion to everyone who resides in the BVI.

He agreed with the host, Claude Skelton Cline, that his government’s approach is entirely policy-driven and was being done in an attempt to correct deficiencies that were found within the system when they first entered office.

Nearly every action has unintended consequences

The minister has also been accused recently of implementing draconian measures against permit holders, particularly in his attempts to have work permit employees secure good-standing certificates which serve to ensure that their employee deductions were paid in full to various entities.

Employee deductions are required by law to be made to National Health Insurance, Social Security and Inland Revenue Departments.

But the measure was found to be rife with issues and had to be suspended after it was discovered that the practice of employers who are not paying employee deductions to the relevant departments was far more widespread than initially imagined.

“Nearly every action has unintended consequences,” Minister Wheatley said. “I think when we first envisioned this – because a lot of businesses we knew were removing the taxes from the employees’ paycheques but not paying them in. I don’t think at that time we had really considered how bad the challenge really was for businesses.”

The minister recently announced that the policy will be rolled back and said another approach will be taken instead at a later date but said there was no timeline planned for this.


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