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Immigration Dept scraps 'home inspections' for work permits- Premier Smith

- said the intention is to ‘streamline the process so that people can come to work’
Persons outside of the Department of Immigration. The Department will be discontinuing the heightened inspections of households for expatriates seeking work permit renewal or changing jobs in the Territory. Photo: VINO/File
At a press conference today, February 8, 2018 at the Office of the Premier, Central Administration Complex on Wickham’s Cay I, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), left, announced that household inspections for persons seeking work permit renewals or changing jobs have been discontinued. Photo: VINO
At a press conference today, February 8, 2018 at the Office of the Premier, Central Administration Complex on Wickham’s Cay I, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), left, announced that household inspections for persons seeking work permit renewals or changing jobs have been discontinued. Photo: VINO
Acting Chief Immigration Officer Geraldine Ritter-Freeman at a consultation meeting on the Recovery and Development Plan of the Virgin Islands in January 2018 had stated that the Immigration Department was conducting heightened inspections on households of persons renewing work permits or seeking to change jobs in the Territory. Photo: GIS/File
Acting Chief Immigration Officer Geraldine Ritter-Freeman at a consultation meeting on the Recovery and Development Plan of the Virgin Islands in January 2018 had stated that the Immigration Department was conducting heightened inspections on households of persons renewing work permits or seeking to change jobs in the Territory. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- There was much uproar on social media when it was reported in the local media late last month that the Immigration Department was conducting heightened inspections on households of persons renewing work permits or seeking to change jobs in the Territory.

The move, disclosed by Acting Chief Immigration Officer Geraldine Ritter-Freeman at a consultation meeting on the Recovery and Development Plan of the Virgin Islands (VI), received overwhelming criticisms from residents as well as persons overseas, who were of the opinion it was a backward step, discriminatory and insensitive to the plight of persons affected by the hurricanes but who were determined to honestly get on with their livelihoods.

“We have a Surveillance Unit that always does site inspections. We have had to ramp that up, of course, because of the situation with the hurricanes and homes being destroyed. We want to ensure that persons are living in favourable conditions before we approve them to remain in the territory,” Ritter-Freeman said.

Noting that there was no checklist that establishes what is right or wrong, Ms Ritter-Freeman had said, “certainly, 20 people living in a two-bedroom apartment; that is not favourable,” adding that “I can tell you that there are less than favourable conditions right now that I have seen with my own eyes.”

She said the idea behind the household inspections was to prevent people from becoming a burden on the state “and living in conditions that are not favourable.”

Process discontinued

However, at a press conference today, February 8, 2018 at the Office of the Premier, Central Administration Complex on Wickham’s Cay I, Tortola, Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) announced that household inspections have been discontinued.

Asked if the controversial process was discontinued due to the negative reactions that followed its announcement, Premier Smith, whose portfolio includes the Department of Immigration, said: “Many a times when we had discussions, obviously it was decided that it was not necessary because what we will be doing, what we want to do is to streamline the process so that people can come to work. So that has been discontinued.”

There were reports that Immigration and Labour Officers were visiting the dwelling places of expatriates applying for work permit renewal or a job change status even when they were not at home and this was put to Premier Smith; however, he said he was not aware of those reports.

24 Responses to “Immigration Dept scraps 'home inspections' for work permits- Premier Smith”

  • weed (08/02/2018, 13:16) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    the cartoon did it lol
  • S. (08/02/2018, 13:25) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Great. I think its not needed to be done period!
  • kudos (08/02/2018, 13:46) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
    Thank you for discontinuing this process and focusing on what is important.
  • Gladforthem (08/02/2018, 13:51) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lawd have mercy, how the Immigration Department became the police of Social Welfare. Before hurricane, 12 Ching Chungs were living in Purcell in a two bedroom apartment, nobody stopped them.

    Why they frustrating our Caribbean brothers and sisters who trying to make ends meet? The people will know what conditions they can live with. I bet you none show up to the Department in a desolate state. The people resting and bathing some place. They have pride. I glad they stopped this nonsense. We are one people, let us help each other right now. And next thing, provide seats outside for the people to sit. People show up there before 6:00 a.m. to get a number. Lord, man. Have compassion on our fellow brethren.
    • @Gladforthem (08/02/2018, 15:34) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
      We ching chungs are smart. We were taught from an early age to conserve, stick together help each other. Why build with stones if you are not here forever? Guess you wouldn't understand. Its a ching chung thing.
      • Themshowingthemselves!! (08/02/2018, 21:51) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
        That's why Ching Chungs should be the last to get jobs in our country. Somebody need to seriously analyze the effect of this group on the country 25 years from now. We understand if we give you an inch, you will look for a yard. Guess you wouldn't understand that either, it's our thing!!
        • we (09/02/2018, 15:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Meantime they destroying some body's rent house with their excess damages and stress. I had two, they lived in my place like animals. Never mind just now they will all have Belongers and will vote in their own.
  • Sue (08/02/2018, 14:05) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    That's not funny at all
  • Ella (08/02/2018, 14:46) Like (13) Dislike (3) Reply
    These people at Immigration department have destroyed my family life. How in God's name can you separate a father from his children. Who is going to take care of my kids when their father was given order to leave the territory in 2 weeks time. He has a renewed full time work permit but was not granted time by Immigration. These people don't have a heart. My God will judge you all at that immigration department.
    • @ella (08/02/2018, 15:43) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
      Easy, he takes his children with him when he is leaving. Come on people, if his stuff were in order, he would have been granted permission to stay. It happens all the time in the US, are they heartless as well? It's called upholding the laws of the land.
    • @ Ella. Tears 4U. (08/02/2018, 15:46) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
      That's why I stop going to Church because these wicked heartless people full up the church all on pulpit. Just because the Weak Pastors looking for fame and favors... The Church is our Major Problem.
      • @ella (08/02/2018, 17:10) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        You best stop living for people. You so upright and perfect is exactly what the same church needs
  • Now what (08/02/2018, 15:19) Like (6) Dislike (12) Reply
    There is a bigger issue that most have failed to acknowledge. What is the plan to address the overcrowded homes, squatters, homeless people in shelters etc? If not today when? If not Immigration who? If not home inspections what? How will we assess what is happening and what will we do to fix it? These are the questions that has not been answered? We the people deserve and demand to know. What is the plan?
    • dog (08/02/2018, 23:55) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      what is equally important is HOW new buildings are being fixed and do they follow regulations and best engineering practices so they are better houses for next time. Forget about how many people living in one house for now. If houses are being re-built, make sure they are up to standard or accidents will happen.
  • Mannix (08/02/2018, 15:23) Like (9) Dislike (3) Reply
    Stop appeasing and caving in to the wishes of the foreigners in your country. They will come back to haunt you with another story of mother's passing.
  • Only the Poor (08/02/2018, 15:40) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    They trampling on the poor defenseless suffering people they have strength for. While they like puppies to the Companies that treating people badly.
  • Annoyed!!!!!! (08/02/2018, 16:07) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I was alwayssssssss Pro-Premier, what is he saying? I just don't get it. Will he wait until the destruction begin to do something. There are people here still without jobs, living off of other people to say what?????? Geraldeen, sorry to say but you are working for a blind goose!
  • Toni (08/02/2018, 16:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    everyday me spanish friend have to go there.put chairs outside for the people them.look bad treatment buddy.
  • ... (08/02/2018, 18:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe we will live in one of the Ritter Apartments next time
  • Curly (08/02/2018, 19:06) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    There is a shortage of accommodation at the moment. So if people have been offered jobs or are still in employment they need to be allowed to stay. If no one is working the island will recover much slowly. What are you supposed to do if you have a job but your land lord is unable or unwilling to make the repairs so the house is seen as "favorable". Of course you move in with people with better living conditions until you are able to find an alternative. That's as long as the landlords with houses that are ok do not become greedy and hike up the prices. There is a difference between looking after peoples welfare and discrimination.
  • Valley (09/02/2018, 08:50) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    All the best hope you keep clean and be careful with funny man
  • Slums (11/02/2018, 03:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If they do anything they should look at what is being orovided by slum landlords in huntums and baughers etc and enforce on the slum landlords. But they won’t because they are too corrupt to touch these scumbags. Family and friends


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