The businessman and legislator also said the same could be applied to business licenses.
“Every year you have a line outside of Labour. You know the persons that are going in and for the last 5-10 years they've never been denied, but they still have to come back to line up for another year….and it’s the same thing with businesses, Madam Speaker, some of them have been operating for 20, 30 years but every year they have to over the same thing, over and over again,” Hon Vanterpool said during the debate on the Business Licensing Act, 2020, at the continuation of the 3rd Sitting of the 4th Session of the 4th House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Hon Vanterpool said he brought the issue up with the previous Minister for Labour and recommended that 3-year or 5-year work permits be considered to help achieve efficiency in the system.
“It's unlikely you'll be sending them back home to where they came from or whatever might be the case but yet you're piling up all this bureaucratic reasoning in the Labour Department for renewing all these thousands of permits that you know have to be renewed anyhow, because you may not have the manpower and don't expect to have the manpower within a given period of time, but yet we renewing every year knowing fully well that it’s an almost automatic renewal.”
He said his proposal would see a cutback in almost a third of the number of renewals on a yearly basis.
Hon Vanterpool said one of the responses he received is that work permit renewals have to be done on a yearly basis in case there is someone local who can take up the job.
“I understand that but we have to use common sense and establish what our manpower is, what our manpower needs are and whether we need to be renewing all of these permits every year,” Hon Vanterpool reasoned.
He opined that Labour Department can decide on a category that it can give two, three or five-year work permits.
He said the Commissioner of Labour would have the right to revoke that license within the three or five years “if she feels she has someone in place for a certain job…”
The legislator said such a system can work without loss to the Government’s coffers, including with the renewal of trade licenses.
“If it's $150 and they want you to give it for three years, charge the business $450 for three years rather than having them come back every year to be renewed,” Hon Vanterpool stated.