The COVID-19 pandemic has created a void in the British Virgin Islands’ labour force, reportedly affecting more than 1,300 persons who are experiencing fallouts such as employee layoffs and terminations.
In a national broadcast on Sunday, May 3, Minister of Labour Vincent Wheatley said the tourism industry was impacted the hardest.
Up to that date, approximately 77 businesses in the territory had contacted the Department of Labour & Workforce Development to report closures, lay-offs, and employment restructuring.
“Approximately 33 of these have reported closure, and approximately 683 have been reported laid off. Some persons have been reassigned or reclassified as it relates to position and or salary, and approximately 72 persons have been terminated throughout the territory.”
“Of the approximate 1,300 employees reported as affected, 425 are BVIslanders or Belongers, 493 are work permit holders, 80 are work permit-exempt, and over 330 of those persons are still being classified,” the minister stated.
Other affected businesses asked to report
Wheatley appealed to all affected businesses who have not yet reported their status to the Department of Labour and the Immigration Department to do so as soon as possible.
He said reporting the information is important as it helps his ministry to have an accurate assessment of all affected in the territory. This, according to Wheatley, will help to ensure that no one is left out when the economic stimulus initiatives are released.
Appointment-only visits to departments
Meanwhile, the minister urged all persons or businesses wishing to visit the aforementioned departments to first call and book an appointment. Persons wishing to book an appointment at the Immigration Department on Tortola can call 468-4703/4705/4752 or 468-9639, while the Virgin Gorda office can be contacted at 468-6520/6521 or 468-6606.
For appointments with the Department of Labour & Workforce Development, residents can call 468-4703/4705/4752 or 468-9639 for the Tortola office. Persons can reach the Virgin Gorda Office at 468-6520/6521 or 468-6606.
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