Minister for Labour & Immigration, Vincent Wheatley gave the confirmation in a recent interview with BVI News.
The first phase following its launch will strictly facilitate the processing of first-time work permit holders, the minister explained. He said businesses and persons seeking renewals will still be required to physically book appointments at the Department of Labour & Workforce Development to process their work permits, in the meantime.
“One of the things that we are going to be doing very shortly is we’re going to move to the online platform. We’ll make the announcement in about a week and a half from now as to the exact dates when we’ll put the work permits online,” Wheatley stated.
“We’ll first start with the new ones (new work permits) and then move to the renewals. It’s easier to start with the new ones as opposed to getting all the files uploaded for the old ones but we’ll definitely start this month, January,” he added.
While the new work permit online system is expected to reduce the queue of persons usually observed physically awaiting their new permits, persons will still have to queue at the department to make their payments in person, as the online system cannot yet facilitate online purchase transactions.
To rectify this issue, Minister Wheatley said his government will be aiming very shortly to pass a number of e-government legislations to allow for online monetary transactions.
He said: “We’ll be looking to pass [those] in the next sitting of the House which will allow us to be able to pay online.”
Minister Wheatley said once the systems become fully operational online, the workers who will be repurposed will have new responsibilities of conducting inspections on various businesses.
He said businesses and residents can expect this activity to commence between April and June this year.
“Number 1, we’re going to be looking at working conditions on the job; Number 2, we’re going to be looking at your staff composition, professional planning and those kinds of things,” he said relating to the inspections.