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Gov’t approves new work permit fees, large penalty

breaking-news-1

Minister of Labour Dr Kedrick Pickering has announced a new work permit structure that will see many persons paying higher fees based on earnings.

Persons who give the Labour Department wrong information about earnings will be hit with a penalty amounting to 10 percent of their annual income.

“This is a new structure requiring higher income earners to pay higher fees. We recognize that there is a potential risk for persons to understate their income to benefit from lower work permit fees. However, we are taking steps to discourage this practice by including a penalty of 10 percent of annual income for understating your income,” Dr Pickering said in the House of Assembly this morning, April 18.

He announced that persons will also be required to pay a brand new fee when submitting a work permit application. “The new fee structure also introduces a $50 application fee, in addition to the $75 fee that is currently charged for the issuance of the work permit card.”

Dr Pickering, who is also the territory’s deputy premier, stated that work permit fees have remained at the same level since 1981, adding that the structure has been amended to one that is “progressive and based on income”.

Further outlining the new fee structure, Dr Pickering explained: “Under the new fee structure, special consideration has been made for domestic workers. They will pay 1 percent of their annual salary. For other workers, the fee for earnings up to $25,000 per annum will be charged at 3 percent.”

“The fee for earnings from $25,001 to $50,000 [per annum] will be calculated at 5 percent.”

“And the fee for earnings above $50,001 [per annum] will be calculated at 7 percent.”

“Earnings in excess of $150,000 will also be charged at 7 percent,” Dr Pickering further explained.

He added that there is a limit to the amount of work permit fee any one person will be required to pay. “There will be a fee cap at $10,000 which means that no work permit will cost in excess of 10,000.”

The labour minister said Cabinet has approved the new fee structure and changes, adding that they will become effective on May 15, 2017.

There were consultations

Dr Pickering, in the meantime, noted that the government held consultations with various sections of the economy before it decided to make the changes.

“It must be noted that Government did not arbitrarily raise work permit fees. We consulted with industry practitioners. You would recall that the Honourable Premier [Dr D Orlando Smith] first spoke about increased fees when he delivered his 2016 budget in December last year, and he announced that the changes will take effect in 2017.”

Dr Pickering added that, immediately after the premier’s announcement last year, Government officials initiated talks with various stakeholders to determine the “most equitable fee structure that is reflective of employee earnings”.

Dr Pickering added, “You got stakeholders [involved in the consultations] from financial services, the accommodation and beverages sectors of the tourism industry, construction and legal sectors, as well as the marine industry, among others. There was a collective approach to increasing work permit fees. We did not do this in isolation,” Dr Pickering further said.

He told the legislature that, in light of the higher fees, service delivery will improve at the Labour Department.

“It is important to note that Government is taking steps to give customers better value for money. As we prepare to increase work permit fees, the Labour Department has already started implementing measures to improve operational efficiently and improve customer service,” Dr Pickering said.

He stated that the improved services include faster processing of work permit renewals. “Persons seeking work permit renewals can now expect that their applications to be processed within two weeks,” he said.

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75 Comments

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  1. outsider says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 81 Thumb down 11

    There goes the BVI

    • Taxes, taxes and more taxes says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 71 Thumb down 0

      Far from being a low tax jurisdiction, the BVI already has:
      1 payroll tax at 14%
      2 social security at 7%
      3 national insurance at 7%

      Now we will have work permit fees, for more than 50% of the work force, at 5% to 7%.
      All together 35% in tax.

      We also have very expensive food, electricity and accommodation – accommodation is probably on its way down because of the number of people leaving the BVI but that means that we will not be able to pay our mortgages.

      Government departments, and in particular the labour and immigration departments, have spent the last 20 years creating obstacles to businesses wanting to operate in the BVI, and in particular in the two pillars of our economy – financial services and yachting.

      The difficultly is most apparent in financial services because that business does not need to stay in the BVI. Problems in obtaining work permits, the delays is processing applications, the extraordinary bureaucracy, and the downright rudeness of the staff have persuaded financial service companies in particular to relocate as much of their work to their non-BVI offices as possible.

      The consequence is that most of the financial services work in the BVI consists of filing documents, that our prepared overseas, at the FSC in the BVI.

      Jersey, Guernsey, Cayman and Bermuda, in particular, have encouraged and allowed businesses to recruit qualified staff that are able to do substantive work in those jurisdictions – indeed the businesses in those jurisdictions are drafting documents to be filed in the BVI.

      They undertake substantive trust administration of BVI trusts, substantive mutual fund administration and NAV calculation for BVI funds and substantive corporate secretarial services for BVI companies.

      Virtually everybody tries to do as little in the BVi as possible. Even the tourism industry outsources as much of its business – accountancy, marketing etc, out of the BVI.

      The constant racist comments made on news blogs merely encourage people to live elsewhere.

      We need the foreigners more than they need us – they can (and unfortunately do) move away and take their business with them. We have kidded ourselves for too long that the business belongs to the BVI.

      How many serious financial service businesses are head quartered in the BVI – None!

      How many of the tourism businesses with operations outside of the BVI, have their headquarters in the BVI – None!

      How many of the big off shore law firms are head quartered in the BVI – None. Even Harneys, not exactly one of the big law offshore law firms, have as many staff as possible in Cayman, London and Hong Kong.

      The present Government and senior civil servants talk a good talk, but the majority of civil servants (who do not seem to understand that they are the servants of the people, and who are rarely civil) continue to obstruct and be rude.

      We have grown to rely on the huge sums pumped into the FSC, and then the Treasury, by financial services – however, the consequence of the way we have dealt with those coming to work in the BVI in those businesses is that the sums are getting smaller and smaller every year.

      Now, we are putting the fees up (incorporation, renewal, work permits and trade licenses) to try and replace the income – however, the more likely result is that the increases will persuade business to go elsewhere.

      I used to worry that many of the civil servants would never learn, but thought that the senior ones understood the big picture. I am not so sure any more.ever learn.

      This decision will merely speed up the day when Government runs out of funds to pay the generous salaries, and extraordinary unfunded pensions, of our civil servants and politicians.

      Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!

    • Smh says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 45

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • Online Now says:

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

        Ok, look at Cayman for example – no other taxes! No NHI, no payroll tax etc. So yes, WP fees are higher but bthat is it!

        • Cayman says:

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          The process is also miles better and there is a genuine path to long term status. BVI doesn’t do well from comparison. Thankfully BVI is far more beautiful and less monied.

  2. good idea says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 53

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • @ good idea says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 73 Thumb down 8

      Be careful what you wish for. U don’t see every week something happening on you all corrupt island. Why??? Because you all more caught up in pressuring and victimizing expats. Instead of making the BVI a better place. Go read your bible you need Jesus!!!

  3. wow says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 2

    More money to burn

  4. lmaol says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 60

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Really says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 58 Thumb down 2

      Most apartment are being rented by expats so will i get my mortgage paid when they go home.

      I will be the reverse because there will be MORE APARTEMNTS FOR THE BANKS TO GO WITH. lets stop be selfish and take this as a laughing matter

    • The last laugh says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 1

      How will you be paying your mortgage?

    • Sad says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 25

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  5. inquiring mind says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 1

    Heaven help us all,

  6. ???? says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 65 Thumb down 2

    “Earnings in excess of $150,000 will also be charged at 7 percent,” Dr Pickering explained.

    IF the cap is 10 Grand, why mention 150,000 as 7% of that is 10,500… seems pointless

  7. Ship without a rudder says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 57 Thumb down 3

    Hahahah well there goes my pay raise I guess!!! Thanks labour dept for looking out for the workers (not!)

  8. Hoops says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 58 Thumb down 4

    Island people lets go now🙋

  9. Just saying says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 7

    Heartless set of suns of b@&#£s. Nasty Dirty People, real NDP.

  10. son of the soil says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 50

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  11. tell a friend to tell a friend says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 8

    GET RID OF THE NDP

  12. Really says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 4

    well well this will drive the expats to leave and then i will not be able to pay my mortgage because most of us don’t rent is the expats who does. Look how Bank going to take houses. Father help us.

  13. strupzx says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 57 Thumb down 4

    i cant stand this man

  14. Albion says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 2

    I don’t have a problem with this in principal – a graduated rate makes sense, and a review of work permit fees was long overdue.

    BUT

    We do need to recognise that this is yet another tax on employment (on top of payroll tax, NHI, SSB). Accordingly this is going to put even more pressure on trust companies to push employees to other offices.

    The Government really needs to diversify its income base. Right now it is just cutting the golden goose wide open.

    • Agreed says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 4

      Totally agreed – the rates needed to increase, but just because they didn’t have the foresight to put it up once since 1981 doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to suddenly hike it up exponentially.

      Especially, as you rightly point out, coming on the back of the recent addition of NHI.

      I don’t see this as being a positive thing for anyone – and there goes any hopes of a payrise…

  15. youngster says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 62 Thumb down 3

    hmm look like everything going up except wages

  16. Outrageous! says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 56 Thumb down 3

    This is killing middle incom workers and employers so you are telling me if you are earning 60k a year you need to pay over $4k a year for a permit.

    Goodbye expat workers because companies cannot afford it and will ship out. This will kill small businesses.

    • Smh says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 32

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • No 60k anymore says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

      No new job between 50k and 70k will be advertised for a penny more than 50k now. That effects anyone applying, from here or not. Its small business (usually local or with local partners) that will get hit hardest.

      Although clearly targetted and big law firms, this could drive large offices with a lot of foreign national lawyers out altogether when you add up the costs for say. Either that, or a couple of admin jobs are cut to adjust for the cost.

    • Fact Checker says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      If you earn $60k you pay $2,700 calculated as follows:

      $25,000 x .03 = $750
      $25,000 x .05 = $1,250
      $10,000 x .07 = $700

  17. Fyah Rasta says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

    I so sick of the thieves trying everything to step on the poor people heads.

    Is them who needs to be Penalized stealing from the people every chance they get. His rich friends don’t feel pressure is we feeling.

    Keep doing bull sht to the people and watch how these beautiful islands will turn out. I know for a fact NDP can’t smell a win in any election in the future. Watch thevies in suits. Brim stone, lighting and thunder on NDP.

    Ayo sicking from long time. Ayo just like that clown Trump administration. 🤡🤡🤡🤡

  18. Tax The Gov't says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 2

    I will be sure to increase all of my proposals to government agencies +700% then.

  19. Biting nose to spite face says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

    I really don’t mind an increase in these fees if in fact they haven’t risen since 1980’s but by this much?! These people are crazy.

    Have the government considered that the same expats they are pressuring with these fees are the same ones whose children are going to inherit the BVI along with theirs?

    They are inadvertently making these children suffer. When parents can’t afford to buy the basic necessities for their children or pay rent what going to happen?

    When a desperate struggling mother or father see an opportunity for financial gain from a local ( married or not)and the favor reciprocated (catch my drift) what going to happen?

    This seems like a get rich scheme. They may have considered the financial aspect of raising these fees so exorbitantly but have they considered the social impact?…I think not!

    • Tolian to the Bone says:

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  20. the magic 7% says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

    Wow!! So we need to pay 7% for a work permit and 7% for NHI and still pay when you go to the doc every time.

    Most small/med businesses cannot afford this so it will be passed on to employees. Kiss goodbye to any kind of raise EVER!!!

  21. naked king says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 55

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • How? says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

      How do we all want to live here for FREE?? Don’t we pay NHI, social security, tax and rent. Not to mention inflated costs for food and electricity.

      While it’s true that the BVI is a lovely place to live if it doesn’t make financial sense for people and businesses they won’t stay here because they cannot afford it. Or can simply do business cheaper elsewhere.

    • @ naked king says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3

      The only reason people like you could make this comment is because of your illiteracy and ignorance and yes I am from here!!! Unlike a lot of the locals( Not All) I am humane with a conscience. BOOM!!!

      • Thank u says:

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

        Thank u so much,i say it all the time ,i live here over 20yrs now

        And like any other country if have the good and it have the bad….and i have never had any bad encounter with a tolan… i could understand that quite clearly that one have to look out for there own which i dont have a problem with.

        But Lord things are getting so rough and with this hike in wp payment there will an goin to be a hike in crime rate… LORD HAVE MERCY ON ALL OF US.

    • The last laugh says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

      … will be on you.

      Many people have already left because their employers relocate them to other places where they are more welcome, and it is easier to do business.

      However, the belonger employers are left behind – either moving to another trust company or going onto the Govt payroll.

      There are no longer enough jobs to go around. The fact is people are going and taking the work with them.

  22. CIVIC says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 19

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  23. Luvz says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 27

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  24. un-fee-leavable says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

    Basing fees on percentage of salary is insane.

    They are taking our hard earned dollars down to nothing. With nothing left to spend to support our local economy

    Ignorant Policies like this and NHI hurt the worker because no employer will want to give a raise when the percentage of their fees rise along with the wages.

    SS 8.5%,NHI 7.5%, PAYE 14% . Now Labour 5-7% How can any business survive in a seasonal economy when being milked dry by A GOVERNMENT that expects you to pay all fees on time or be fined; and makes anyone working for them expecting to be paid to…wait…and wait,,,and wait…and w…smeh!

  25. Concern!!! says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

    Who are paying this ridiculous fees? The employer or employee? I’m confused as hell. So a basic $400 +$50+$250 =$700 ($25000.00)…WDH!!!!!

    SO MY WORK PERMIT INCREASE BY $300..

  26. ridiculous says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

    We have to pay $50 to submit a work permit??? To deal with them rude a%# workers at labour Really ridiculous plus the $75 ..plus 5% of your salary , father help us Expats …

  27. Big Time says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 0

    Everything going up except wages Dr (not) Pickering.

  28. WTF says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 1

    They done misuse and squander all the money, now they want to kill people to catch up. Dishonest bastards.

  29. Island Man says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

    For Heaven sake, what is this?

    The government cannot give account of moneys missing on several projects. simply, they steal all the money, now you are penalizing the working class especially the expat to drain their pockets to replenish the treasury so you can empty it again.

    This is nonsense;

    People as much as you may not see the need of the expat, they are the driving force for the development of this country and please do not advantage the ones who pushes us forward.

    I know quite well where we were 30years ago, I don’t have to ask.

    Pickering was a youth then and he seems to forget also.

    Do not punish the children of Israel it will destroy Egypt;;; look and see what happens next when they cannot feed their children.

  30. Venomous Poison says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

    This will be the Government that cause the BVI to go under. Mark these words. Get rid of this Government. Save the BVI from these reptiles.

  31. Amazing says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

    So the government gets caught in the Panama papers scandal, loses millions of dollars in investment and business, and thinks it wise to tax the very people and industries who provide them with the very monies to fund the treasury? Really???

    What insane, mindless, idiots this government is. So the bread and butter businesses will move elsewhere, increasing the tsunami of others leaving.

    This in turn will reduce business in the BVI, depleting workers, and reducing taxable revenue.

    Guess the government didn’t think this through and instead saw dollars to be gained, when in fact, they will be on the losing end.

    Wow.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

    Remember the pe0ple who live here who on on work permit is not from here so when they leaf hope the country can run it self

  33. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

    Since work permit fees have not been adjusted since 1981 (36 years), undoubtedly, they are long over due.

    Work permit fees should be overhauled sooner than a 36 year interval. They should be reviewed at least every 5 years.

    Moreover, the fees should be function/profession based, i.e., an engineer should be paying more than a custodian.

    Though the increase in fees is long overdue, the downside instead of fees increasing gradually they are now being increased by a large sum at once.

    A gradual increase would have been more tolerable, especially for workers at the lower rungs of the economic ladder, than the at once increase,

    Moreover, how does the new rates stack up against rates in other regional countries?

    • Laura says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

      I agree with you (PO). There is no reason for such a long period without a rise in fee but at the same time there should be a sliding scale for workers.

      Everyone cannot be rated the same. This government has not thought things through and the long effect will cost the BVI dearly.

    • Agreed says:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      The increase in fees should have been implemented over a 10 year plan. No one is doubting that they were long due an increase but the sharp hike is going to force small/medium businesses under and the large businesses out.

      If they had slowly increased the fees over a period of say 10 years they would have time to assess the impact – if, after a few years they started feeling the pinch they could have reevaluated.

      Instead this 700-1000% increase is going to wreak havoc and, by the time they start to notice, the damage will already have been done…

  34. Future says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 28

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  35. Love it says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 30

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  36. Brad Boynes says:

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 28

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  37. ? says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    Now this once a year save your money when the time comes am paying permit too we leave to better ourselves not be rude in another man country be thankful there are people out there who need a job.

  38. Lol says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    The main problem is leaving it 36 years with no increase. It should be amended every 3-5 years so it doesn’t hit so hard. Exactly the same as tge new national park fees, not been increased since the 70’s and later this year will get a huge increase. That has the potential to damage the tourist industry as well.

  39. Great God says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

    This Island needs a deliverer…..
    The more the government is extorting money from the people the less essential services we enjoy…

  40. A suggestion... says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Maybe the entire expat population should protest and refuse to pay any work permit fees at all until they figure out some sensible ground to evaluate these fees. They can’t send home everybody and besides even if they could the majority of them from down island…LIAT not that reliable.No matter how you look at it the expats have the upperhand.

  41. Sand Pit says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

    Trying to get more money to spend on that useless beach!

  42. ndp heckler says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    This is a “reverse robin hood” government…(robbing from the poor instead)

  43. Pilot says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    This decision to increase the workpermit fees should have been taken look ago by the previous
    governments. When the industry was lucrative and striving here. Cayman Islands etc implemented these fees back in the 90s. To do this now if the industry in spiraling downwards is bad timing.
    I am not sure the decline in revenue has anything to do with government policies. It is my opinion that because of the political pressure and policies of the G8, and the volatility of the global economy, business has shifted. What was attracting business to the BVI may not be so attractive anymore. The Panama papers did some damages also. Government should try to keep abreast with what is trending in the industry and adjust to it.

  44. Stewie says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

    My dear expat friends I tried to help. I did not vote for one single NDP. They came with a message before elections through their campaign song, a bit of an ironic foreshadowing and people still did not heed. Action speaks louder than words, Beware of fancy talkers. Their actions are speaking loud and clear.

  45. green cup says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Of course raise fees on the people who cannot vote…

  46. Really? says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    The politicians have no vision beyond personal enrichment. There is no long term planning. There is no desire to learn the lessons others have learned. There is no desire to listen to ideas from non-belongers. All this because there is no accountability. The goose that lays the golden eggs is slowly suffocating. Govt happy to light up the grill.

  47. ...... says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    These people will rather take death in the BVI than go back where they are from. Don’t mind the complaining….They come here to plunder our land.

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