Cabinet has approved the grant of Belonger Status to some 50 applicants after reviewing recommendations made by the Board of Immigration.
The move comes weeks after Governor John Rankin
expressed concerns that the government was making slow progress over a backlog of hundreds of applications that had been pending.
At the time, Governor Rankin said he had written to Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley to seek assurance that capacity constraints within the Immigration Department in dealing with Residency and Belongership applications will be addressed swiftly in line with the government’s Framework Document commitment to prioritise and allocate resources as part of its full commitment to reform
According to Cabinet’s most recent post-meeting statement released yesterday, April 20, the decisions were made on March 8, under the provisions of the Immigration and Passport Act.
Cabinet noted that, under Section 16(6) of the Immigration and Passport Act, nine persons were granted Certificates of Belonger Status as spouses of Belongers who have been living in the BVI with their partners for a minimum of five years.
It was revealed that a further three applicants were denied Certificates of Belonger Status on the basis of marriage under the same section of the Immigration and Passport Act.
The statement noted that 41 of the applicants were granted Certificates of Belonger Status after having met the legal requirements of Section 16(3) of the Act.
Meanwhile, another 43 persons were granted Certificates of Residence under Section 18(1) of the Act, while a minor was endorsed under Section 18(2) of the Immigration and Passport Ordinance.
The decision made by Cabinet to approve granting Belonger and Residence Status to these applicants will allow them to live and work in the BVI without restriction. The Cabinet statement noted that it is expected that the Immigration Department will communicate its decision to the respective applicants promptly.
Cabinet also announced the appointment of three individuals as members of the Board of Immigration per Section 13(1) of the Immigration and Passport Act.
Those appointed include Kamika Forbes, Michelle Frett-Mathavious and Avelinda Freeman. It was agreed that a monthly stipend of $800 would be paid to members of the Board for their attendance at meetings.