There has been an increase in applications for belongership status in the BVI in the last few months.
This increase follows the Dr Natalio Wheatley administration’s commitment to do away with what the Commission of Inquiry
) report described as an unlawful policy requiring 20 years of residency before an application for belongership could be lodged. As part of a series of reforms mandated in the COI
report, the government pledged to follow the existing legislation on the ‘residency threshold’, which is a minimum of 10 years.
But according to Governor John Rankin
, this surge in applications has created some challenges for the government as it executes the COI
He said: “I am aware that a number of individuals have experienced difficulties with applications made since June, including not being given receipts for submission. I have raised this with the Premier as the Minister responsible for Immigration. I understand that the increase in the number of applications received in the period under review has posed some challenges for the Immigration Department.”
“Nevertheless, it is important that the government fully implements its commitment to follow existing legislation on the residency threshold, and to accept and process applications on that basis, pending completion of the review under COI
Implementation B33, [which is for a review to be done on the existing belongership policy]. I am not currently fully satisfied that this is happening. I will continue to monitor this issue over the coming months,” Rankin added.
The Governor gave that indication on Tuesday in his first quarterly review of the ‘Framework for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry
Report and Other Reforms’.
This review has been sent to ministers in the UK for consideration. He promised to hold a press conference once he receives their response.