Some persons received pre-election residency without applying?
Just days before the February 2019 General Elections, the former NDP administration reportedly granted residency status to 71 persons, including some who had not formally applied for this status.
This is according to Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley who was speaking in the House of Assembly last Wednesday, March 10.
He said these persons whose status was “regularised through a fast-tracked programme” at the end of the NDP’s term in office were those who had made significant financial investments in the BVI.
“Only two categories were successful in making the list [of fast-tracked individuals] — those who had made substantial domestic investments, and those who had a substantial business presence mainly in the financial services industry. Seventy-one persons at that time were awarded residency status with a range of four years to 25 years,” said Wheatley.
He added: “It’s important to note that the records reveal that there are no applications on file for some persons who received this status.”
It is unclear why or how these persons were reportedly granted residency without any formal applications being present.
But Wheatley said after his government won the 2019 elections, it took steps to make the fast-track system more equitable by considering persons who had been residing in the BVI for many years and were waiting to be regularised.
The issue of status continues to be a hot topic in the BVI as many continue to complain that the process isn’t transparent and often favours those who are rich over those who have made significant financial investments in the territory.