The Immigration process in the British Virgin Islands has been described as one of the most difficult in the world.
Project Coordinator for All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response, Mitch Lederman made the remark to BVI News on Friday.
All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response is a non-profit organisation that currently has a team of international volunteers undertaking a massive clean-up campaign at Elmore Stoutt High School in Road Town.
Lederman said his team has experienced Immigration challenges in other countries but nothing like in the BVI.
“It is pretty common. We have had challenges but this is definitely the most difficult that I have seen. It’s horrible,” he said.
“Everywhere we have worked so far everyone has been so thankful for the work. People came here to work and are stuck at Immigration for a day,” the Australian volunteer added.
Lederman said a team of eight volunteers recently lost a full day’s work in the BVI because they had to sit in the Immigration Department to get a one-month extension to continue their volunteerism.
The team anticipates that their work in the territory will last at least six months.
“It’s been very difficult. We have only somehow managed to get our hands on [time in the BVI] on a one-month basis, which is very challenging for us … which is a shame.”
He made mention of other countries such as The Philippines, where they visited to do similar work. Lederman said Immigration officials in that country gave volunteers a three-month immigration stamp; hassle-free.
“Every three months we would just walk into the office and stamp our passports and give us another three months. It’s that simple; which was fine.”
Lederman said he hopes the issues are addressed swiftly because “people love working here [in the BVI] and would like to keep on volunteering.”
The team works six days per week and is currently camping at Nanny Cay.
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