The new guideline means that the removal of the category of tenure has taken effect, therefore, persons are no longer eligible to apply for work permit exemption if employed for any specific number of years within the Territory.
As such, the newly revised categories of Work Permit Exemption are Exemption by Marriage, Exemption by Education and Exemption by Minister's Discretion in keeping with the April 2021, announcements by the subject Minister, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9).
According to details of the post-meeting statement of the Cabinet meeting of August 18, 2021, the existing Work Permit Exemption Policy was revised to better reflect the Government's evolving strategy on Immigration and Labour reform in the Territory.
The meeting statements said the plan will also streamline and reduce the illegal trends associated with Work Permit Exemption holders, relating to illegal work and movement throughout the Territory.
It should be noted that Work Permit Exemption does not grant a person status in the VI, rather it only exempts a person from the Work Permit Fees. If an applicant is not granted an exemption, he or she must apply for a Work Permit at the Labour Department.
Additionally, the revised policy states that all applications for Work Permit Exemptions are to be received and processed by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration only, and approved by the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, unless otherwise instructed by the Cabinet.
The Government in 2019 had previously revised the policy, where a term limit was added to exemptions, resulting in the ceasing of the issuance of indefinite work permits.