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Premier Smith words useless? Expats with job offers still must leave- Immigration Dept

Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), left, had controversially stated on March 5, 2018 that he wants his [Acting] Chief Immigration Officer, Ian B. Penn, right, to cease and desist from sending skilled expatriates home unless they have committed a crime. Photo: VINO/File
Expatriates changing jobs are still being sent home by the Department of Immigration despite Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) saying he wanted the Department to 'cease and desist' from doing so. Photo: VINO/File
Expatriates changing jobs are still being sent home by the Department of Immigration despite Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) saying he wanted the Department to 'cease and desist' from doing so. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Confusion continues to loom over the Virgin Islands (VI) post hurricanes Immigration policies.

It appears that no one respects the Premier, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL), and his public announcements on Immigration policies, as there are serious questions as to whether what he says publicly can be relied on to form government policies.

New Immigration policy expats must stay?

The Premier and Minister of Immigration has continued to be publicly humiliated, “dressed down”, and insulted by his own elected members, such as his Education and Culture Minister, Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL), and a few months ago by the Second District Representative, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull, who called on him in the House of Assembly (HoA) to give up the portfolio of Finance.

It was last week in the House of Assembly in answer to a question from Leader of the Opposition Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) about why expats are being asked to leave that Premier Smith said, "Expatriates currently residing in the territory who were offered engagement with companies requiring employees for the hurricane relief work with the employer are not being asked to currently leave the territory.”

Then at a ceremony in memory of the late first Chief Minister, H. Lavity Stoutt, on Monday March 5, 2018 he also announced again that “I have already heard of persons being asked to leave the Territory. I want my Chief Immigration Officer to cease and desist from this practice unless these persons have committed a crime,” Premier Smith said.

Expats still must go

However, as of today, Thursday March 8, 2018 there has been no change of policy at the Immigration Department. Up to this morning persons called our newsroom and said they have found employment after Hurricane Irma destroyed their places of work and they were “still asked to leave.”

We called the Immigration Department on Tuesday March 6, 2018, and a senior immigration officer told our newsroom "I am not aware of a change in policy."

In addition, on March 7, 2018 there were five more such cases of expats being asked to leave after finding new employment. Some have argued that it clearly demonstrates that the Premier does not call the shots in the Territory and has become very weak.

Efforts to get a comment from Director of Communications Arliene T. Penn, as to whether Premier Smith had issued a directive via writing to the Immigration Department for it to not send home expats changing jobs, were unsuccessful.

44 Responses to “Premier Smith words useless? Expats with job offers still must leave- Immigration Dept”

  • shark (08/03/2018, 15:04) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    As my co-worker told me the screws that were supposed to screw i the galvanise to the buildings people are screwing them in thier bodies how are you going to get them to leave the island.
    • fish (08/03/2018, 15:16) Like (14) Dislike (11) Reply
      A fish spoil from the head and if this head is broken the laws of the land that tell you he // is sick in his ////. What better time than now to clean the country and let everyone abide by the laws regardless of we like it or not . A country is govern by laws.
  • Pato (08/03/2018, 15:16) Like (46) Dislike (15) Reply
    I don't believe that this being disrespectful to the Premier in anyway. The Premier must seek the appropriate guidance in dealing with this matter. There will be policies, but they must be in conjunction with the Immigration Laws of the Virgin Islands. If the law says you must leave the territory, then you should leave, it didn't say you must leave permanently. You leave for a short while and then re-enter what so hard in that. Why ppl behaving like the country belong to them? This is why belongers and Virgin islanders are being knocked about in both the police force and the prison service because they are controlled by Expats. Once the Premier is advised accordingly, then there is no need for any disrespect. Ppl just need to obey the laws, that's why we have so much crime here now. This is a country of laws.
    • .... (08/03/2018, 17:01) Like (6) Dislike (28) Reply
      Shut the hell up .... ppl like you retarded
      • time will tell (14/03/2018, 13:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        You got to be one who need to go home....some fraid to go out because they know fully well they will not be able to come back in. Enforce the laws!!!! The Premier know dam well the law does not delegate that kind of power/authority to him.
    • transformer (09/03/2018, 08:54) Like (6) Dislike (8) Reply
      Locals dont want the jobs. Bottom line and the truth. Im a local and I have tried my a$$ off to hire and work with my own but they rather dress up and go sit in the AC long nails and fancy hair. They dont want the jobs we have to hire expats for. Look at our truck drivers they you call them you load up they dont load off the dump and go. $150 per trip yo!!!!!! Please!!!! Leave the hard willing to work people alone.
  • cay (08/03/2018, 15:30) Like (26) Dislike (4) Reply
    Thanks vino Dr Smith is a joke
  • Common cents (08/03/2018, 15:45) Like (37) Dislike (3) Reply
    Hmm, I can imagine how hard it is on some expats because most of them not only may have lost their jobs but most of them also lost their homes and personal belongings. Can you imagine how hard it will be for the ones that have called the BVI their home for over 10 or 20 years to have to leave the territory just to switch jobs?
    • Hard? (08/03/2018, 16:52) Like (21) Dislike (32) Reply
      How so. They will have a job to which they can return. Lucky them. In the meantime let the BVI run their country. Perhaps while they are back in their country, they would go about fixing it as aggressively as they are here undermining and becoming unwelcomed pests. This is what they agreed to from day 1 .for chrissake, lost home,job and personal belongings leaves one destitute and it is the responsibility of your country to house,feed and assist. BVI has its own in the same predicament and does not have any resources to match what these folks have in their country, Get a heart,please,
    • @ Common cents (11/03/2018, 07:44) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      People who have been here that long do not have to leave while changing jobs. Only persons who have lived here under 5 years have to leave and return on the new work permit. Dr Smith's government put that law in place now he pretending like he don't like it. He need to then abolish or suspend the law he made the proper way and make a new one the proper way and not start gossip and confusion on a podium.

      Then he did it during H. L. Stout celebration. That was very distasteful and irresponsible.
  • pat (08/03/2018, 15:49) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    It knew Dr Smith was into polticall gimmicks
  • Wendy (08/03/2018, 16:41) Like (8) Dislike (14) Reply
    I like DrSmith very much. I have great regard for NDP.. This immigration current drama though, I cannot go along with. I am convinced that Doc was misinterpreted. Or that he misinterpreted. No way can he be saying or would he be dictatorial and publicly . A country of laws of policies . If there was a change to be implemented, A written directive would have been issued
    This time in our history is crucial for support to our Gov , whatever party, This is an opportune time for the free flow of colonizing juices. The urge to control, to destroy to make in their image, to fix to dictate has left its stamp on worldwide chaos in many parts of the World. Wherever and whenever humanitarian aid was required, opportunity knocked.. Beware and in unity we must support our Gov.. Stay strong.Stay supportive.
  • wize up (08/03/2018, 16:46) Like (25) Dislike (6) Reply
    I think if a person or persons are not gainfully employed there is no need for such individual to be takes money to pay bills
    • @wize up (09/03/2018, 13:13) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      How do you know they don't have money saved to keep them going until they find another job. It's not all of us who likes to live from pay check to pack check and not save for a rainy day. If someone is already in the BVI living and is in the process of changing jobs, I find it stupid and senseless to have them leave their already established home of abode to wait until the permit is granted. I fully support our Premier and we need to show more respect to Hon Smith. But oh, just remembered, we don't have any respect for our country and no pride either. We litter, we break the traffic laws, we are disrespectful to each other so can't expect anything different when it comes to expecting respect to our leaders.
      • wize up (09/03/2018, 13:34) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
        @ wize up: you can direct your questions to the ministry or minister for immigration: I have no answers to your questions(sorry!!!)....who stay can stay or who go can go;nothing to me(your fight is not with me, I have nothing to do when the day come so I blog WTF I desire don’t let that bother U!!(just saying)
  • Ok, let me think.... (08/03/2018, 16:53) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    So basically, it appears that the law was always there. Expats who have lived in the territory for 5 years would qualify TO SEEK PERMISSION from the immigration depart to remain in the territory for a period of time whilst they find new employment. The right to remain in the territory IS NOT an automatic right. I can only assume that what has happened is that there is some misunderstanding as to whether one automatically qualifies for permission to remain as long as they can show that they have obtained a new job. But actually, they have to get permission from immigration first. So what was the Premier ceasing and desisting? Also, sorry but not a good thing for Hon Fahie to pose the question to the Premier when I believe the individual with the facts is resident in his district.
  • A VOTER (08/03/2018, 16:53) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    I see the Governor all over the place meeting and listening to the cries of the people. Where is the Premier? How is it that we are not seeing him? Is he still missing in action?
  • VG (08/03/2018, 17:01) Like (13) Dislike (7) Reply
    Good hope the immegration department do not follow Mr zzzzzzzzzz in selling out the country
  • @Common Cents (08/03/2018, 17:17) Like (4) Dislike (15) Reply
    I guess you sense ain't so common at all. No one who has establish themselves financially and having assets such as a home way they paying a mortgage will have to leave the territory, air ho... It's pertaining to persons on work permit and under immigration control Bobo, if anyone on work permit for 20 years then they need to go and don't come back. You would had sufficient time to move from under immigration control. What you saying really don't make any sense.
  • The Premier (08/03/2018, 17:36) Like (16) Dislike (15) Reply
    The Premier is the Premier. He can can give certain directives... This Premier is a good and decent man and don't deserve all these disrespect from members and department heads... Respect the man he is Premier.
  • @Premier (08/03/2018, 19:23) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    Boy I agree with you.
  • Rubber Duck (08/03/2018, 20:22) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply
    If he doesn’t do what he is told , fire him.
  • i from here (08/03/2018, 20:32) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    Send them backside home yes. How much longer an angullian first lady going call the shots?
  • Look VINO (08/03/2018, 21:30) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
    They have to leave if they are here less than 5 years. Now I'm an expat too... that's how it is...the immigration no ain't disrespecting the Premier because if you listen to what the Premier said his statement did not mean all across the board people could stay. I understand the Premier was only talking about those who here 5 years or.more. stop.making an issue out of this... I'm sorry for the hardship of finding money to off island be at don't sensationalised us find a middle ground... it's not fair to bully immigration through is a dangerous trend
  • Look VINO (08/03/2018, 21:37) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    And like Wendy said...this country have laws...the Premier can't just be every minute butting in with ad hoc policies in these department....there is an Immigration Act people!!! Read it...if the Government want to but in...let them go to the House of Assembly and make a new law but don't tell me we should jump because of something might have been said in the media....all those expats complaining need to go get a copy of the I'm migration law... I'm not ashamed to say so was an expat seems like we now turn around with this entitlement.mentality...SMH
  • just asking... (08/03/2018, 21:53) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Dr Smith just need to shut the hell up
  • Longshanks (08/03/2018, 22:12) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    There are two points here. The first is that the premier is merely a member of the government. He is the leader and head of government but cannot make laws by himself. This is a constitutional point. The second is that he is responsible for the immigration department and the immigration department has discretion on whether to require someone to leave the territory. Dr Smith has the authority as head of the immigration department to give direction s as to the circumstances in which such discretion should be exercised. Where an expat has a job offer, has the means to keep themselves and will only contribute to the economy while they wait for their new permit it is entirely sensible to exercise such discretion, particularly where you are breaking up families in the interim. Discretion always used to be exercised to permit this until about three years ago, then it changed.

    Finally, a good reason to exercise such discretion is that the BVI has become a place where it is reputedly difficult to do business or be an expat from an immigration standpoint. This harms the BVI long term and makes it hard to attract the best people. Never forget that for every lawyer etc who we seek to recruit (each of which drops about $150k into the local economy through taxes, rent, school fees, food and drink) they are weighing us up against Cayman and Bermuda. I am committed to here but if I had my time again I would go for Cayman every time. Long term this will lead to a reduction in taxes, incorporations and living standards in the BVI. We need to change the narrative and become a place which welcomes (and benefits from) skilled workers
  • off island (08/03/2018, 22:14) Like (4) Dislike (5) Reply
    Wish these BVI parliamentarians were in my country disrespecting the prime minister boy oh boy. Men would have been fired for so. Mr
    Smith is a decent man. Any how you will face the havoc when some one New takes his place.
    Bvi people don't like they own self.
  • Twins of Twins (08/03/2018, 23:23) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dis country goin leff. ah pear confusion.
  • You see (09/03/2018, 01:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The same people who always saying the Virgin Islanders feel like they are entittled are the ones who acting like they àre entitled. Do not want to abide by the immigratioñ laws.
  • Set ah fassyholes (09/03/2018, 04:00) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    I will love to see another irma /maria hit aryo in aryo mouth for talkin piss, ... everyday for the thief, one day for the owner, with aryo prejidice a**holes.
  • The Governor hearing us (09/03/2018, 05:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    It takes the Governor a white man to address the stupid labour law that gives employers green light to victimize and oppressed workers during a disaster. A lot of unnecessary layoffs and having staff working extra hard in fear doing 2 & 3 people jobs. Not a word from our black labour minister we voted for... The only politician that been upset with employers and speak out is Alvera Caines Since then I have mad respect for her... Thanks Mr Governor. Keep the pressure on. The Company did the most laid off and redundancy made the most sale and money from the disaster. Record sales.. . Employers without conscience..
  • Len (09/03/2018, 06:53) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let immigration department do their jobs..da*m if they do and da*m if they don't.

    Guys like Gilbert and "Teddy" does their best to assist you and to let you know what is the current policy. I am a Virgin Islander married to an expat and their was no short cut for my wife because i am a Virgin Islander.

    Again i would say "let the immigration department do their jobs". I guarantee you if these expats were in St Thomas or the mainland USA it would not have been an issue...and the last time i checked Virgin Islander has to abide by the immigration laws of other Caribbean islands.
  • Bohannon (09/03/2018, 07:14) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply

    This article and head line spells J@#$$/^&,, all the way. That man is so messy. He needs to stop now.

  • cromwell (09/03/2018, 07:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    And Governor Gus expects finance operations to return by end of March and expose their businesses to these immigration policies.

    Good luck
  • My Interpretation (09/03/2018, 08:44) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    "Expatriates currently residing in the territory who were offered engagement with companies requiring employees FOR THE HURRICANE RELIEF WORK..."

    Operative words!!!
  • Hmm (09/03/2018, 10:00) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't care of I'm hated for this comments. But I find we are a set of ungrateful people. At this time when we need all the help that we can get. So many of us cannot even find workmen to assist with putting our homes back together for what is considered another busy hurricane season. Put something temporary in place if needs be. Why we being so ungrateful. There are so many ways to ensure that measures are put in place to keep order. Sending home to wait 3-4 months for a response. We all know that Immigration and Labour process application so quickly. I'm tired of you guys saying or they coming to our country to run things. At a time like now we still so haughty and haven't realize that it is impossible to get back on our feet with the help of the expats. They helped build the country; they pay bills; social security; NHI a hold host of other stuff that we depend on to sustain the upkeep of the territory. Along with good comes bad; but oh my gosh the hatred the gross dislike is so glaring obvious. I pray that before its too late eyes will be opened.
  • True (09/03/2018, 10:14) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Immigration LAWS cannot be changed just because the Premier said so in a speech, FACT.
  • Ridiculous (09/03/2018, 15:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Insurance companies, Banks, Immigration, Labour who else is going to add stress to people's lives. Geeze man
  • jj (09/03/2018, 22:54) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doc you need to stop getting involved in the affairs of immigration, you should be strengthening the laws to protect the people of this great islands. Every country protects its people. You and your goverment are destroying it. I believed that its high time that all security of goverment bodies be under the governor such as Her Majesty Customs and Immigration. Constitution must change , all at large candidates must in the frontline to manage the country while district reps will run there district only. Policies don't supersede laws there are just guidance............Sir you have the power to make things right in Our Country. Please let us protect it together for the love of everyone.
  • Zo (12/03/2018, 17:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • ForbiddenTruth (13/03/2018, 08:49) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    premier words not useless.... the premier is.

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