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Unemployed on work permit? 'You should have to leave!' - Hon Vincent O. Wheatley

- Says Gov't implementing systems to track & monitor immigrants
With rebuilding work & Jobs slowed two years after the devastations of Hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) says immigrants who came to the territory to rebuild via work permits should leave if there is no job available. Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9). Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9). Photo: VINO/File
Construction work in the Virgin Islands has slowed as the Virgin Islands continue to recover; however, the issue of workers on work permit remaining in the territory while unemployed is a concern. Photo: VINO/File
Construction work in the Virgin Islands has slowed as the Virgin Islands continue to recover; however, the issue of workers on work permit remaining in the territory while unemployed is a concern. Photo: VINO/File
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI - With rebuilding work slowed two years after the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria of 2017, Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) says immigrants who came to the territory to rebuild via work permits should leave if there are no jobs available.

Rebuilding jobs on a slump 

"The work is starting to slow down, businesses are finally being rebuilt and so workers are being laid off... If you're in the BVI on a work permit without work, you should have to leave," Hon Wheatley said on Public Radio ZBVI 780am last Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

"You are here to work and if there is no work, you should be made to leave... but we are very kind and welcoming persons, we give them time to find another job. But it's sometimes very difficult tracking these persons the way we should," he told Claude O. Skelton-Cline and the 'Honestly Speaking' listening audience.

Hon Wheatley said; however, that persons changing jobs who have resided in the Virgin Islands for 5 years or more will no longer have to leave.

"It used to be that you had to leave when you are changing jobs, right now if you are here over five years you don't have to leave, we know who you are... only the new ones have to leave." 

Dilapidated Immigration System  

Hon Wheatley, turning his attention to immigration, said the system is in a state of disrepair as a result of neglect; however, he is working to transform the sector.

"Our current immigration systems are dilapidated, and that's why we passed in the House... monies to upgrade the Immigration Border Security System... $6.4M would have already been approved to upgrade our border security," he said.

According to Hon Wheatley, "If we are going to empower our people, we have to ensure we're securing our borders... the BVI is a very attractive place to live, work and do business, that's not going to change anytime soon... but we also have to make sure we are securing our people."

The Minister noted that Government will be consulting a local database so that every single Virgin Islander and Belonger looking for jobs will be able to find work; however, they must register.

"This database tracks every single work permit, the minute you apply for a work permit, it triggers the database... Is there anyone in here that suits this work permit application? And if there is, it is denied automatically," he said.

The Minister noted that the system will also alert local colleges of high demand job fields with the aim of getting them to offer courses. 

"We have the resources here, so we are pushing strongly for our people to upskill themselves," Hon Wheatley said.

21 Responses to “Unemployed on work permit? 'You should have to leave!' - Hon Vincent O. Wheatley”

  • facts (15/10/2019, 14:19) Like (39) Dislike (7) Reply
    You got that right! One time for VIP
  • 111 (15/10/2019, 14:30) Like (46) Dislike (3) Reply
    I agree with him
  • enough (15/10/2019, 15:16) Like (34) Dislike (3) Reply
    There are a lot of persons in the BVI who are on work permit for someone and everyday they are out and about the BVI looking work. If someone don't have work, they no longer can hold a persons' work permit. They would need to seek employment with someone else or leave.
  • concern (15/10/2019, 15:21) Like (39) Dislike (3) Reply
    another thing Government need to look into is the number of persons in the BVI (not from the BVI), are not employed and are out doing illegal activities daily. You see them on every corner.
  • Joker (15/10/2019, 15:49) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hmm. Immigration need a Manager with the internal fortitude to enforce the law and it's administrative policies. Go figure. Lots of permits of convenience floating around here.
  • me again (15/10/2019, 18:48) Like (107) Dislike (0) Reply
    Have the new Immigration Chief take some lessons from Supa Cop
    Or simple. Put Guy Hill ona two(2) tear contract with “Soldiers”and see how fast we get this place clean up
    Even the LAZY ( B. H ). Holders will get them arse in gear if Mr Hill is given the Task to “cleanup”
    Think about it. The man work spoke for him
  • Real (15/10/2019, 19:04) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    To much loopholes that's why BVI so slack.
  • Charley Rose (15/10/2019, 19:19) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    The issue of people who are changing their jobs who are in the country for more than five years require to leave the country is true. May be the minister does not know.
    Immigration Officials are sending people home. The minister is say something different from his officers.
  • the man (15/10/2019, 21:02) Like (25) Dislike (2) Reply
    Guy Hill is definitely the man for the Job.
  • Concerned (15/10/2019, 21:04) Like (24) Dislike (17) Reply
    One should still have to leave after 5 years. By doing this, persons will understand that it is a privilege and not a right to be and work in the VI. It is this staying here forever that got us into the mess we are in.
    • good luck (16/10/2019, 08:49) Like (4) Dislike (43) Reply
      with your country without the help of good willing and highly skilled foreigners.
      • Greg (16/10/2019, 09:28) Like (80) Dislike (2) Reply
        Ha ha, highly skilled phonies. A lot of you come here saying you are Trade Men, and you have to be taught here what to do. You liars only come for the money and after doing some jobs wrong, the owner have to pay more money to get it fixed. We don't need you kind of phonies. I have seen some skilled, but NO HIGHLY SKILLED, so get off your wagon with that!
      • @good luck (16/10/2019, 09:30) Like (41) Dislike (0) Reply
        WERE YOU DOING IT FOR FREE?????
  • watching (15/10/2019, 21:08) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    But if you are a female bartender catering to certain politicians you can do whatever . SMFH
  • rfr (15/10/2019, 21:18) Like (13) Dislike (12) Reply
    persons changing jobs after 5 years didn't have to leave for some years now; that's not a new thing. Don't try make it seem like a VIP decision.....it was one of the good changes under NDP.
  • Steve (15/10/2019, 23:36) Like (72) Dislike (0) Reply
    Every neighborhood knows who is not from here and not working and hanging out, watching we working people come and go out of our homes, to the point we don't feel safe. It feels as though they are watching you so they can break in your home. Government should set up a page where people can write in and tell where these people are hiding out. Some have overstayed with expired work permits and causing trouble instead of keeping quiet. Some are bullying BVI landers too and that should not be allowed in any country allowing outsiders to think they have clout, being here illegally. Hurry up Government and set up a page because I know where a whole lot are hiding out. To all of you who feel I am squealing, I AM! Sick of you.
    • SMH (16/10/2019, 07:57) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
      Why wait for a Page? Report them or any suspicious person to authorities. I suggest forming a neighborhood community group to help keep watch on your homes. But then again, one must be neighborly to engage in such a way.
  • Nice (16/10/2019, 08:34) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    yes saw do the ppl works..good idea don't only speak it put it to action
  • sir (16/10/2019, 08:50) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dear Mr. Wheatley
    You are not wrong, but please come with a plan and a proposal before just getting these thoughts out in the open to gain popularity.
    Commenting on problems is easy, fixing them is what you should do.
  • Truth (16/10/2019, 10:30) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
    Stopping work permits will not automatically mean more bvislander employment. There is a delicate balance and attention needs to be firmly placed on the industry and particular jobs. The last thing you want to do is have the BVI end up with a full on hiring freeze because businesses are not allowed to hire who they need in order to improve their offering. Of course there are many permits of convenience i.e. some people coming as domestic or whatever else but really floating around doing other stuff. But let us be real here, how will automatically stopping permits resolve the problem of unemployment here? Have we even considered the root cause of some of the unemployed persons? I own a restaurant and I need a chef, so you're going to tell me there's a local who can 'cook' and needs a job so I 'must' hire him/her?


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