BVI News

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Select expats can stay while changing jobs

A section of Road Town, the main business district in the BVI. Photo Credit: Timothy Barker

Work Permit holders in the British Virgin Islands have been told that despite the passage of two major hurricanes which left many jobless, there are requirements to be met in order to remain in the territory while switching jobs or changing their immigration status.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Geraldine Ritter-Freeman said persons working in the territory for five years or more and are seeking to change employers will no longer be required to leave the territory during the transitioning process.

Ritter-Freeman said persons who have been residing the territory, but want to seek employment, also do not need to leave the BVI while transitioning.

Those persons can now apply for a conditional permit.

Ritter-Freeman said they must satisfy the interviewing officer that their place of residence is in suitable living condition and that they are financially capable of supporting themselves during the transitional period.

Persons who are granted conditional permits will have three months to secure employment.

If within that time frame, Conditional Permit holders experience challenges in securing employment, they should report to the Immigration Department 10 days prior to the expiration of the permit to have their matter reviewed.

Ritter-Freeman said those who are unable to secure employment during the requisite time frame are required to exit the territory and return on an approved labour clearance where applicable.

No Policy change to date

Meanwhile, a call to the Immigration Department confirmed that there has been no policy change for persons who have been living or working in the territory for less than three years.

“They will have to go out of the territory and remain out of the territory until the work permit comes through for Labour and Immigration. That was a policy that we had before the hurricane and that still stands,” Immigration told BVI News.

However, exceptional circumstances will be reviewed by the Chief Immigration Officer on a case by case basis, Immigration noted in a media release.

“This policy seeks to ensure that Virgin Islanders, Belongers, permanent residents, and persons that usually reside in the territory are given due consideration and preference for available jobs, especially during these trying times.”

Immediately after the passage of the recent hurricanes, provision were made for skilled workers or other workers deemed critical for the rebuilding and recovery efforts to remain during the transitional phase.

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