British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

Penn appointed Chief Immigration Officer after long stint of acting

Penn appointed Chief Immigration Officer after long stint of acting

After occupying the post of Acting Chief Immigration Officer for more than six years, Ian Penn has finally been appointed to the position of Chief Immigration Officer (CIO).

A government-commissioned media release on Tuesday said Penn’s appointment commenced from September 3.

As CIO Penn will be tasked with “ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the Immigration Department and the supervision of all staff and will be responsible for providing expert advice and guidance to the government on various immigration matters including policy issues, legislative reviews and analysis.”

“Additionally, Mr. Penn continues to lead his team in the implementation of the strategic plan and objectives to achieve solutions for the Immigration Department while forging partnerships across the Public Service,” the release added.

He will also continue to communicate with the respective ministries, departments and other agencies in an effort to collaborate on joint border and security activities as the territory continues to strengthen its border security.

Issue of not appointing Penn was brought before SFC

In 2019, the issue of not appointing Penn as CIO was raised in the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) deliberations by Opposition legislator Julian Fraser after the position had been vacant for more than half a decade.

It was said during the deliberations that Penn was acting in the post since 2014, took study leave in 2016 and returned to the department in 2017.

While no clear indication was given as to why he was not appointed, it was revealed that the decision to appoint Penn was ultimately up to the Immigration Ministry.

February interview hinted that Penn was to be confirmed

In a follow-up interview in February 2020, Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley said that it was his intention to confirm Penn to the post of CIO.


Penn gained accreditation as an International Civil-Commercial Mediator in 2017. He also obtained his Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice in 2019 at the Bar from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Certificate of Standing from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.

Penn has been a member of the Immigration Department for approximately 33 years.


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