Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon. Vincent Wheatley said there must be value to the granting of work permit exceptions.
According to the Minister, the general reasons why people get exemption is that there is going to be some benefit to the individual in the first instance and the wider community in the second instance.
"So its not about giving exemption for exemption sake we want to make sure it is of some value to the person as well as the Territory," the Minister explained in a recent interview.
The Minister explained that if a worker earns a very large salary and there is no clear reason why exemption is going to be beneficial to the territory then there are grounds for that exemption to be denied. However, he stated that the profession might qualify you to be denied .
"You apply for exemption we want to know why do you want exemption and that’s an individual thing because each person will apply for different reasons. For example some may apply because their salary is so low so by saving their money for work permit it might make a difference to their life. Others may want it because it gives them greater mobility in finding jobs. So the Ministry or myself will decide if there is enough solid grounds to grant them an exemption," Hon. Wheatley stated.
The Minister explained that the work permit exemption programme started under the late Hon. Omar Hodge’s time and continues; however, that the policy used called for a persons to be residing in the Territory for 20 years to qualify. According to Hon. Wheatley, during the regularization process the current administration reduced the time to 15 years.
According to the Minister, there is no longer a category for students to be exempted, but that students are now required to meet the criteria of 15 years.