Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has announced that strict requirements for work permit renewals in the COVID-19 era will be relaxed as a result of a number of concerns.
The Minister on Friday, July 10, 2020, had announced that work permit renewals for expats will be dependent on good standing with the Social Security Board, Inland Revenue Department and National Health Insurance, as well as the certificates of earnings from the Social Security Board and Inland Revenue Department.
However, the Minister at yesterday's, July 21, 2020, sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA) said many employers owe back taxes which would prevent some employees from getting their work permits renewed.
Dues still have to be collected - Hon Wheatley
'It has been brought to my attention that there are many employers who have large outstanding balances and are unable to make a one-time payment to qualify for the certificates."
He said it is not the Government's intention to turn business persons into criminals, giving the current pandemic and past natural disasters.
"Many businesses are still recovering from the devastations of 2017, we have decided to relax the requirements, just a bit, as we still have to collect our dues," Hon Wheatley said.
Gov't to assist with payment plan creation
"Having said that, I wish to make it clear that those businesses not in Good Standing will be allowed to renew work permits once they present a payment plan. We do understand the difficulties faced by many and it is never our intention to make things even more difficult."
Hon Wheatley said Government assistance will be provided to employers for the creation of the payment plans so that balances can be settled.
"These plans can be attached to the renewal work permit application which the Department of Labour and Workforce Development will accept to process the renewals."