British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020

Necessary Decision! Jobs For Residents Behind Lock Out of Work Permit, Exemption Holders

Necessary Decision! Jobs For Residents Behind Lock Out of Work Permit, Exemption Holders

The recent move by the government to shut out work permit holders and work permit-exempt persons amidst COVID-19, was not an easy decision, but a necessary one, according to Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
Premier Fahie was at the time responding to the heavy criticisms over the decision which was announced earlier this week.

"Yes there are those who are a little annoyed with some of the work permit issues, but we will work it out, but we have to find a balance for our people here who are unemployed and we have to ensure that those who come with work permits are working for the people that they came here that they say they are working for," he said.

The Premier who, was speaking at the official informing ceremony for the Deputy Premier Hon. Natalio Wheatley held at the Stickett last evening, Friday, August 7, said, "It's not an easy thing to do but someone has to hold this bull by the horn especially in a time of COVID-19."

Premier Fahie mentioned the students who recently graduated.

"Especially when we have more than 300 of our young people graduating, looking for work. We cannot continue to put on the problem and try to solve a problem by adding to the problem," he stressed.

Opposition Leader, Hon. Marlon Penn has criticized the decision. He said the move to arbitrarily ban work permit holders and work permit-exempt persons indefinitely is another knee jerk decision from the government.

He said that this recent decision speaks to the absence of a coherent plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This decision lacks clarity, and therefore, it creates uneasiness and uncertainty for families and the business community concerning its labour force. A decision with such far-reaching implications should never be a blanket decision; such a decision requires consultation and probably should allow for discretion on a case-by-case basis, and in conjunction with local businesses," Hon. Penn said.

He asked if the Government considered that there are work permit holders and work exempt persons who are married to Virgin Islanders and are gainfully employed as the breadwinners for their households who may have been shut out of the Territory?
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