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Why do work permit applicants need good-standing certificates?

Why do work permit applicants need good-standing certificates?

Minister of Labour & Immigration, Vincent Wheatley is expected to face a host of questions from members of the legislature when the House of Assembly has its next sitting starting Thursday.

Among them is the question of why employees are being held responsible for an employer’s good standing with the departments of Inland Revenue, Social Security, and National Health Insurance.

According to the order paper for the upcoming sitting, Opposition legislator Julian Fraser said work permit holders are asked to provide certificates of good standing – both for themselves and their employers – if they hope to renew their work permit and extend their time in the territory.

Fraser said he assumes that this is a government policy and wants to know its objective, if it is indeed a government policy.

The Third District Representative is slated to ask the Labour Minister why the issue could not instead be resolved through the use of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ checkbox that all three agencies can later verify.

“What is the Labour Department expecting to get from these Employer’s Certificates of Good Standing that they cannot find on the Employee’s Certificate of Good Standing?” Fraser is set to ask.

He will also ask whether there is any arrangement with the agencies to expedite the issuing of the certificates and what is the cost to the employee and employer to facilitate such an initiative.

Policy relaxed after compliance failures

After instituting the requirement for work permit applicants to produce certificates of good standing last year, the Labour Minister later announced a relaxation due to a large number of employers failing to qualify for certificates of good standing.

At the time, minister Wheatley said: “It has been brought to my attention that there are many employers who have large outstanding balances and are unable to make a one-time payment to qualify for the certificates.”

“As it is not our intention to turn well-meaning business persons into criminals, taking into consideration that many businesses are still recovering from the devastations of 2017, we have decided to relax the requirements, just a bit, as we still have to collect our dues,” the minister added.

A few months later, he said applications should be made at least a month in advance for the certificates and suggested that the new policy had shown mixed results up to that time.


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