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Work permit exemptions by marriage will be granted for 6 years max- Cabinet

Work permit exemptions by marriage will be granted for 6 years max- Cabinet

Persons applying for work permit exemptions within the category of Marriage will now be able to apply immediately following marriage to a BVIslander or Belonger, however, the exemptions will only be granted for a fixed period.

With effect from August 23, 2021, and under the revised work permit exemption policy of the Government of the Virgin Islands (VI), an approved work permit exemption by marriage will be for a fixed period of six (6) years maximum, according to details of the post-meeting statement of the Cabinet meeting of August 18, 2021.

Cabinet further encouraged that at year five (5), an application for Belonger by Marriage should be made with the Immigration Department by the individual granted a work permit exemption by marriage.

To apply, persons will also need a letter of intent from a local employer for an applicant, who is currently unemployed and living in the Territory as a dependent of the spouse.

Minister for Natural Resources, Labour, Immigration and Social Security Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) in July 2021 said the revised plans will streamline and reduce the illegal trends associated with Work Permit Exemption holders, relating to illegal work and movement throughout the Territory.


No work permits for spouse outside of VI


In addition, Cabinet has warned that applications from spouses residing outside of the Territory will be denied and noted that the marriage category of work permit exemption will be linked to a specific employer.

“Any change in employer/employment, prior to the expiration of the exemption, will result in the exemption being automatically canceled,” the statement noted.

If a married couple is divorced, legally separated or residing outside of the Territory, as per Section 16(9) of the Immigration and Passport Act, for over 90 days without previous permission, the awarded exemption is to be considered revoked, Cabinet said.

However, the revised policy provides for work permit exemptions that will be retained, if the holder has at any time, obtained a protection order against their spouse.

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