Reports from the Haitian community in the Virgin Islands are that there is a ban on work permits for Haitians seeking employment in the Territory
Virgin Islands News Online has since received information that there is some accuracy to the reports.
Work permits denied
According to one of the concerned Haitians, who asked that his name not be published, reports of the ban have been widespread of late and a family member of his has also been affected.
According to the Haitian man, who has been living and working in the Virgin Islands for well over a decade, a relative of his applied twice for a work permit but was rejected on both occasions.
The man said the two applications were for employment with different contractors, adding that the affected family member is skilled for the job he was being hired for.
“The contractors were willing to hire him but the work permits were denied with no reason given. It’s hard for Haitians to get work permits,” the man lamented.
Asked why he felt Haitians were finding it hard to get work permits,” the man said: “Haitians always try to travel to go to the next door (USVI) and maybe they think everyone wants to come to the BVI to do that.”
The man argued that not every Haitian should feel the heat for persons bent on flaunting the laws.
“My family have no intentions to do anything illegal,” the man said, adding that his relative is skilled to do the job he was being hired for. “He can tile, he is a mason, mechanic, drives trucks and has no criminal record.”
No ban just a ‘hold’
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) and Labour Commissioner, Janice I. F. Rymer did not respond to our request for information on the reports.
An official close to the situation; however, confirmed to Virgin Islands News Online that work permits are being withheld for Haitian nationals at this time.
The source further said they “would not describe it as a ban but there is a hold on Haitians coming to the BVI because there was a history of their documents being forged.”
Virgin Islands News Online will continue to gather information on this story and update our readers accordingly.