BVI News

Better Labour laws needed, insecurity causes expats to ship $$ back to home countries

Samuel (Facebook photo)

Virgin Islands Party (VIP) candidate for the Sixth Electoral District John Samuel says, if elected, a VIP government plans to create an environment where expats will feel more comfortable to save and invest in the British Virgin Islands.

Samuel who was speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio programme on Tuesday said the systems currently in place for expatriate residents need to be amended.

“There is no way in the world it is fair for you to have someone in your country renewing their temporary work permit one year at a time for 20 years. At some point, I believe we would have to adjust the processes and address some of these issues when someone comes into the country,” he said.

Samuel explained that it would be prudent to have different processes for persons who are seasonal workers and those who come to live.

“We [ought to] deal with it upfront and understand why you (expats) are here, how long you should be here, what benefits you should have or not have and what fees you should or should not pay,” he reasoned.

“If I am living in a country and I am unsure of my status and how long I will be allowed to stay… I am not going to keep my money here. I am going to send my money back to where I know it is secure [and] I am going to try to build a house,” Samuel added.

Can’t blame the expats

The VIP’s candidate said with the current state of affairs, expatriates cannot be blamed for shipping their earnings back home.

“We question why are they exporting all their money, why they are building their houses in Jamaica, Guyana or wherever. But we have not provided them with a sense of security to the point where they will keep their money here and invest their money here,” he said.

“So, there are some things we have to do as well to make sure that more of that money stays in the economy, more of it circulates, and it has to do with how we address Immigration and Labour.”

He said persons from other countries who come to live in the BVI “should be treated as equals, should be comfortable, should have equal opportunities as far as that is possible”.

Samuel, however, said he agrees that locals should have additional rights and privileges.

He further underscored that those privileges ought not to mean locals should “disregard and degrade” persons who come to visit or reside in the BVI.

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58 Comments

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  1. Diagree says:

    Every single law, as they now stand relative to immigration, homeland security and finances, need to stay in place until the issue of the “exodus of billions of dollars” every year is addressed and corrected in favour of the BVI treasury.

    Of course some have to go out to care for loved ones. That is understood, but the majority of funds earned here do not stay here, but go into and prop up someone else’s economy, and that is not good economic politics.

    If the country must be drained of that huge amount of its raw financial resources, then there should at least a very stiff tax and or penalty, or both, associated with its departure.

    How can any government adequately secure its borders and keep its citizens and visitors safe if a huge chunk of its financial resources that should be allocated to national security is being forwarded out of the country on a daily basis?

    Even the jackass would laugh at you if he caught sense of it.

    Lastly, “He said persons from other countries who come to live in the BVI “should be treated as equals, should be comfortable, should have equal opportunities as far as that is possible.”

    Everyone should be treated equally, but the citizen should always have first preference, a birth right which seems to be slipping away from him with each new and now prospective administration.

    Moreover, the local catches hell from on two fronts: 1) from his country men and women and 2) from the same expats who matriculate to positions of authority in our homeland. I live it so i know it.

    The story and evolution of the Local and or Black man is an ongoing dilemma wrapped up in a quagmire.

    The stakes are getting higher BVIslanders. We had better study, learn and contemplate very hard before we cast that “X.”

    Like 16
    Dislike 44
    • Albion says:

      You seem to be suggesting capital controls which prevent people sending money out of the BVI. Experience in other countries suggests that restricting the right of people to send money out of the country is a pretty sure way to bring on capital flight and economic decline.

      Like 27
      Dislike 4
      • Strongly says:

        disagree. It is not a suggestion of blatant capital control. On the contrary, it is a suggestion of an enactment of some legislation of taxation on a portion of capital exiting the country.

        Why should we allow the vast amount of money earned on our shores to leave it, and yet face economic sanctions from the European Union and Britain when their rich nationals chose to establish some of their riches here in order to avoid taxes there? That makes no sense.

        What is the difference?

        They sanction us to deter their nationals from exporting their cash into our coffers, so they can keep their wealth in their country that they can tax it as it supports their economy. Why the hell can’t we do the same?

        Are we so economically blind as to not see this?

        So, if we cannot keep a portion of our money here, we should at least have an exit tax on it, period!

        Like 9
        Dislike 14
        • @Strongly says:

          WTF you mean ‘allow’? People working are supposed to contribute to NHI, SS and also pay their payroll taxes. Whatever they get in their hands is theirs to do whatever the h**l they want to do with it. The Government past and present have squandered our tax payer monies on locals and now that the s**t has hit the fan we are here acting as if our issues are the fault of the working expat? You guys are sick! If we promote better management and less wastage in Government we won’t be here making up stupid schemes for revenue.

          Like 37
          Dislike 3
          • Dont be daft says:

            is there wastage? yes.

            however don’t pretend that your payment of NHI, SS and payroll taxes are for the benefit of only BVIslanders, they are for your benefit also. You access them with BVIslanders.

            you too demand better schools for your kids, better infrastructures. You demand and you use. If you and every other expat and some BVIslanders are sending all of the money out of the island, what should be done? should we take the payroll taxes, NHI and SS monies to pay for other these things?

            what becomes of your SS money, NHI monies if you have to access it if its being used for something else?

            FYI an exit tax on monies leaving the island does not affect expats alone, all are captured so stop being such a freaking narcissist. Its not about you!

            So, will the bvi economy build using that alone….oh wait we have the Financial services monies…those monies fix everything…

            no problem.
            oh waitttttt
            problem
            that resource avenue is being frequently and maliciously attacked by outside forces who want to destroy it…..

            would you be here without the BVI being what it is because of financial services? are you paying attention?

            one of the things i can not reconcile is the constant source of vitriol that comes from a section of the population who regularly and with relish tell the BVI about all that it is and all that it isnt and how where you come from is better than here.

            so why are you here? if you were doing so well where you are from…why are you here? People doing well in their countries of origin do not migrate….that means alllllllll the people here, blue black yellow white or in between.

            i will tell you, THE MONEY.

            so what to do? Should you come here and work and not contribute to the economy you live in while at the same time demanding of it what you feel you are entitled to and sometimes over and above that.

            everyone here is dependent on each other. We have to help each other and until we get around to that and away from our “BVI people” are so and so and “down island” people are so and so, we will never help each other economically or otherwise. And this is the time for us to do that. We are in an economic crisis, in case you missed that little tidbit.

            the time is now. So i dont want to hear crap from anyone of the candidates running, i want to know what the devil you are going to do about our economy that is a viable and workable solution, not a pie in the sky idea. that is your litmus test for qualification to receive my vote.

            so what you saying?

        • @ Strongly says:

          But does Britain impose sanctions on its own people who work overseas and send money back home? That is what you need to compare — your current comparison is between apples and oranges. Should other countries impose penalties on BV Islanders who live abroad and send money back home?

          My other question is, if an expatriate works here, pays the same rate of tax as a local, makes the same payments for social security and NHI as a local, how are you then going to tax them additionally for the money they have earned? The hours they put in on the job is payment already made!

          Like 16
          Dislike 3
        • Stupidity says:

          How can an offshore tax heaven try to tax the movement of money out of the economy. I guest you are not going to Tax the billions that moves in and out by the rich whites but you are willing to tax the couple thousands that the black man scrape to send back home.

          Like 3
          Dislike 1
        • This says:

          This is actually quite right.

      • Road Town Resident says:

        Please re-read the article several times, along with all those who actually clicked like instead of correcting you!

    • Online Now says:

      Samuel is spot on. If you don’t want the money exiting, give the expats a reason to invest here. Security and right to remain are the reasons.

      Like 51
      Dislike 5
    • Rubber Duck says:

      The whole economy of the BVI is likely to now be less than $1 billion.
      Exchange controls are the backward thinking economics many of you shoot yourselves in the foot head in the sand bigots lappear to love.

    • Yikes says:

      Boss is it your money? Did you sweat for it? Do you go through pain and anguish for you demand I keep it here? When you or your family members leave here for greener pasture was it to make greener that pasture or to make money to fertilize the brown pasture you left so one day home will bloom greener. What you want to take my money that I’ve earn from me and put it under your personal lock and key? Guess they would not mind having a financial master so they’ll work with no reward. There’s a name for that pre 1834 thinking.

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
    • Einstein says:

      Lol. Exodus of capital? Remember, we use the US dollar.

      Think smart!
      Why are Expats are coming here? Because: 1) They are better prepared then we are? Perhaps their schools don’t leak and they are better educated? 2) They are willing to work harder and longer? Our system made us weak by promising us government jobs or payouts while our ministers helped themselves to our treasury.

      Let’s give them more to spend their money on so their money stays here. Historically, our ministers have supported businesses that have taken advantage of us. Remember when our cell phone costs where the highest in the world? Our ministers allowed that to happen and they and their partners got rich!
      Let’s take back control. Let’s not waste money. Let’s elect people who not only respect us but that are respected by the rest of the world. The Economist highlighted the NDP’s fiscal mismanagement and corruption,

      Let’s not let this happen again!

      Like 10
    • Economist says:

      The Economist disagrees with your opinion. They stated that the greatest challenge facing us isn’t a revenue issue or capital flight but rather “fiscal mismanagement and corruption.”

      The NDP got caught with their hands in our cookie jar.

      Let’s fix the problems and move forward. We need to create real jobs and improve our education.

      Let’s have fun. We are the bosses!

    • two cents says:

      I full agree with every word you have stated.

  2. LOL says:

    Let the pandering begin!!

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  3. Sixth says:

    We sticking with ALVERA. This man already putting Expats above and before BVIslanders. Sorry. Me and my family can’t vote for that

    Like 8
    Dislike 54
    • SMH says:

      Why People don’t read to understand, and not glimpse to blab!

      Like 30
      Dislike 1
    • @sixth says:

      More importantly he putting spanish women above the locals. Finally explain why he appealed to the spanish community. Another Omar Hodge in the making.

      Like 5
      Dislike 26
    • Islander says:

      @Sixth: can you tell me where your mother, father, grandfather,grandmother from? The problem with we people is – We go the US and born our children because obviously Tortola don’t have any thing to offer you or them, especially educational and health wise. They are also treated equally as a US citizen. You go to the US and get your green card they call you “Aliens” Yet, you have the right as every other US citizen. Don’t you know Island people build up your country, the British Virgin Islands? They pay work permit fees, visa fees, they have the highest tax fee when leaving our country. They occupy our apartments and the list goes on. It is high time they get some kind of respect and appreciation. Nobody treat you all like this when you go to their country. But if it aint come to you all, your children will get the same prejudice and racist slurs in the long run where ever they go not being a citizen or “Expat” as you call it. Look what is happening in the US now. We as a people need to stop being prejudice against our the Expats. Check out your roots, you will notice somebody in your family come from down island. My people is a set of small minded, racist people. It saddens me every time I see comment like yours.

      Like 32
      Dislike 3
      • Apple Perspective says:

        Let’s get over it. “We’re one.” We all come from Africa. Every DNA test proves it. Let’s focus on simple tasks like improving our education system. If we are better educated we don’t need to fear the better educated expat. If we are willing to work harder we don’t need to fear the expat. If we can build a culture of innovation we don’t need to fear the expat.

        Are you willing to work harder, think harder and enjoy your life more? Or are you counting on your elected officials to share the payola with you and pretending that you are not bothered by the raw sewage flowing though our streets, that you aren’t bothered by the toxic fumes coming from our dump, that you aren’t bothered by our broken schools and roads? The NDP has broken our country and they aren’t looking to fix it.

        Like 4
        Dislike 1
    • hmm says:

      All the expats will and they outnumbered you and your family. hehehe

  4. vip heckler says:

    This guy is a threat to national security

    Like 4
    Dislike 39
  5. son of the soil says:

    Another omar wanting to give away our country?

    Like 7
    Dislike 34
  6. Ah Laugh! says:

    They hear the island people who are Belongers and voters say they’re not voting for them so they’re in panic mode and making stuff up. When NDP mentioned multi-year permits and ease for investors, we called them sell-outs, but now this is a bright idea?

    Like 19
    Dislike 8
    • Just saying says:

      Y’all will learn who truly making stuff up. My run will soon reveal his true self to all including the expats. He have y’all fooled but y’all will see.

      Like 9
      Dislike 11
      • @Just saying says:

        Everyone has a choice. Why is it when people choose Myron it’s some big conspiracy? Is is a man, he is just a man, he is a human being so nobody should expect perfection. Everyone has flaws but the man has been a Minister for 8 years and has shown that he can get shit done. I will take my chances with him and NDP before putting it in the hands of Skelton-Cline/Fahie clan!

        Like 24
        Dislike 10
      • VI gyal says:

        how so when VIP piggy backing on the ideas.

  7. Concerned says:

    The reasoning is fine . I you will be able do to do this in hostile and crude setting.How could a legal immigrant helping build a country disenfranchised from belongers status until he stays 20years in this modern days. The people making the rules get citizenship of US and UK within 3 to 5 years.

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
  8. Interested. says:

    This is the first person I have seen with an economic vision. I dont know you sir but that revelation is direct from common decency. We would invest our monies where we feel appreciated. You can not ask us to build the economy and yet we have no say. Toland live and progress in other countries, most if you were born in USA territories and you see that as a right. The truth is that most of you that say you from here not really from here. You cant have it both ways, if you want us to contribute give us rights. If you had the expertise you would not need expats but you dont. The island is in a mess not cause by expats but by your own incompetent locals. Get real.

    Like 40
    Dislike 7
    • Nonsense says:

      There is no vision here. Our laws already state clearly how people get status, the issue is implementation. We have laws on the books and existing systems that can deal with many of our issues but our issue is implementing them. Everyone is friends, party supporters, family etc. so nothing gets done right. What is visionary about what he has said so far?

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
    • Islander says:

      @Interested, you couldn’t say it any better. I said similar thing to “Sixth” before I even read your comment

  9. BuzzBvi says:

    One breath people say they want money to stay here. A politician shows you how and you rubbish him?

    Is a return to slavery what you are wanting. It certainly looks and sounds so.
    People should come to the Virgin islands, work hard, with no rights, and leave all their money here for the “owners” of the BVI. Just need to clothe, house and feed them?

    Like 13
  10. You Won already Samuel says:

    You Got my vote one people one nation D & one love
    You just the man with heart we love you. A silent Man who is around can judge.

    Like 14
    Dislike 6
  11. SMH says:

    Why People don’t read to understand, and not glimpse to blab!

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  12. Truth says:

    Invest in a sinking ship??? with a million captains no crew and faults hopes in floating.

    Oh please BVI don’t build greatness it tore it down!!!

  13. Gordaguy2 says:

    Immigration and the arrangements under which expats come into a country are different issues. Take Canada for instance – People who want to come as “guest workers” receive work permits if no local person will take the job – employers complete a Labor Market survey by advertising the job to be done and the salary and if there are no local takers who are qualified a temporary work permit is issued for 1-5 years. If at the end or during that period the worker decides he/she would like to apply for permanent residency leading to citizenship they apply and go through the point system which is run every month. The average points are derived every month and a certain percentage of those over the average are permitted to stay and work toward citizenship. By this means the government attracts the most highly educated and trained applicants. The more highly trained and educated a population is the better the local economy.

    Like 10
  14. ! says:

    John, you or any other politician won’t get anywhere with locals, who makeup majority of the voting population, with your lax immigration, Labour laws and policies. We need some Trump-like immigrations and policies in place, where we clean our islands and lock down our borders with increased security and stricter laws when allowing expats residence. Our tiny island is already over crowded with expats. You and any other politician going the wrong way, if you stay in that mind frame. Be smart and put your people first.

    Like 3
    Dislike 15
  15. son of the soil says:

    Some of ayo island people are too ungrateful. Look ayo formed an island man party and only want to vote for island people?That is one of the reasons ayo are treated that way

    Like 5
    Dislike 13
    • vlogster says:

      I wonder how it feels to be such a bigot. You must carry such pain. Are you unhappy because you are an ugly imbreed piece of crap?

      Like 7
      Dislike 3
  16. NDP Fanboy says:

    We believe in the plans that Myron has put forward. Whatever Myron decide is the best way forward. I don’t know what exactly Myron’s position is on this subject but I fully agree with it because he is the best. NDP has the best team and the best leader because we better together and we together with Myron. NDP all the way. Chi Ching.

    Like 13
    Dislike 11
  17. YES says:

    NDP all the way

    Like 10
    Dislike 10
  18. Island Girl says:

    John well know Andrew and the rest of his green team are not in favour of what he is saying. But John know majority of the so call island people them nar wote for them so he coming with this lame duck s**t…John please go take 10 damn seats and go cart you backside from yah…

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  19. CW says:

    You deserve the leaders you have. You vote for people that tell you what you WANT to hear not what you NEED to hear. This is a perfect example. So eager to blame problems on anybody bit yourselves SMH

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  20. Soiled Son says:

    What I want to know is where is the $7million the government sent out of the BVI for that half cocked airline?

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  21. Eagle and Buffalo says:

    The BVI is a small island grouping of 59 square miles spread over 36 islands with a shortage of skilled labour. The import of skilled and unskilled labour has resulted in a change of the population ratio between locals and expats: 40:60. No doubt expats have contributed to the growth and development of the territory. However, the BVI is small and cannot grant permanent residency, naturalization…….etc as quickly as say the US, Canada, UK….etc.

    Even the UK is trying to slow the migration into the UK, ie, Brexit. Immigrants have been granted residency in VI but may be not at the rate that many may desire. Many of those Brlongers will be running and voting in the upcoming election. The home countries of the 100+ nationalities that now reside in the BVI have rules in place to manage their immigration and labour policies. Further, every permit holder in the BVI knows that the privilege to work in the BVI is temporary and time spent working in the BVI does not guarantee that they may be granted residency. The delay in getting status is frustrating.

    Moreover, agree that Immigation and Labour need to be looked at and reformed. In regards to expats sending money back to their home countries, it is not totally due to concern about status. Expats everywhere send money back to their home countries to help family members, invest……etc. In the Caribbean region, remittances contribute immensely to a higher standard of living and quality of life in many countries, ie, Dominica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Antigua, St.Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana……etc. Remitance is not unique to the BVI. Several decades ago, the BVI depended on remittances, ie, USVI. Remittance is big business; in 2017, Caribbean and Latin America received approx $75B in remittances. Some countries encourage migration so that migrants can money back home. Let’s stop the dog whistling!

    Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes.

  22. Political Intelligence says:

    Little to no BVI immigration status is not the only reason why people ship their monies overseas. People ship their monies for the following reasons (plus more):-

    They have family/friend/love connection/ with people overseas, so naturally they would care ($$$) for them.

    Purchasing power is also a major reason. Where one can only build a small, non immaculate home for U.S. $150,000 here in the BVI, they can probably build a mansion elsewhere for that same money.

    …Labor laws in the BVI are actually very good to excellent (lets say excellent). What is really needed is better enforcement of such laws. That is, people should have easier access to the courts and the labour department needs to do their job 1000 times better. Laws is less of the issue, enforcement is where the problem lies.

  23. Truthhurts says:

    The BVI is a place where these racists people have tought you guys well ,firstly the only differences between the so call island people and BVI peeps is a slave ship your ancestors just end up in Tortola everything is linked secondly there is no established progressive mentality in legislation , domestic affairs, social structures internet,laws,economy,, education etc they delay everything for no reason because of foolishness such as last name that’s sick so foolish last names came from slave owners, another thing they want you to stay and spend into the economy and no return no moving forward jus beckering about who’s from where and here and over there and here I’ve been to so many places and 1 or 2 people might say hey where are you from ? But here in the BVI that’s all they ask maybe to fit you in some bs box. To get ANY paper work done in this place is like is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack employers could treat you like waste because you ain’t from here no human rights no respect to one rights, trying to start a business is a total waste of time because a soon as you submit the requirments including your great grandmother birth certificate and her passport # and her SS# and her marriage certificate . after that’s submitted maybe get answer 20yrs later when your old and tired what a waste everything is moving backwards here instead of forward.

  24. Think about it says:

    Why would anybody invest in a country where you’re treated like a 2nd class individual and live year to year, based on work permit renewalsl? Why would anyone living in a country invest in it when it takes 20+ years to become an official resident? What’s so difficult to understand about the legions of hard working people who came here to make a better life for their families back home? And, given the costs of land and construction here, why would anyone who does not have status, want to build here when they can build better and cheaper where they came from?

  25. Anonymous says:

    The money that are sent out to the other Caribbean islands are penny’s compared to that sent out by the bigger operators. We are busy trying to control our Caribbean brothers and sisters whom we can count on when we need help but forget all about those from the continents who transfer money by the millions from here ever so often. Don’t forget who came to our rescue after hurricane Irma.

    S—– your name is well know as someone who do not have too much of a liking for the Island Man. Therefore, they do not have a great expectation that anything you propose will benefit them. Live well with people if you intend to pursue a political career.

  26. Native says:

    Look just stfu…So you against renewing permit yearly ok.. tell us how much years you think you will give before renewal? Do you know alot of expat come here and leave there kids behind and other family members? Do you know when they go back for vacation they want to show what there foreign life is about? Do you know the money for land in the BVI is house and land in other countries?I think all these power hungry people with these crazy talk just need to take a back seat… you know many people fail to admit this territory has been run by VIP for many years and the VIP government of yesteryear had fail to develop the country to meet times like this so know the market is in high demand and things are more costly we now trying to play blame game..

  27. John is Man From MR D says:

    People John is the man He will do what it take to do the right thing he is captain. when a captain sail in rough water there is only one way is to push forward until the water get calm so john push that throttle hard you will make it.

  28. Virgin Islander says:

    My comment is directed at the Blogger named: Interested. We have had Expats living among us since the early sixties and seventies. I may be off by some years as I am not that old, but those first time Expats who have ben here over fifty years. We never yet had to use the words Aliens nor down Islanders. Do you want to know why? Those sets of people came in, lived among us and had respect for our people and territory. They fitted in comfortably, worked hard and earned people respect from Virgin Islanders as well. No fighting, no complaining. Some of the Expats that came in the later years came with a different mentality. They speak badly about our territory and its people. They have no respect in a strange land. Don’t take me personally, but most of the great minded people from other countries came to our shores in the earlier days. If a Virgin Islander was to reside in any of your countries whether Barbados, Guyana, Antigua, etc, jobs, especially high end jobs will be a no no because your populations are much larger with not enough jobs for your own people. Secondly, some notice I say some of you well know that nationals in any jurisdiction comes first. Not because BVI is small means that some would want us to believe we have to hand you everything and sit on our tails and watch you take over. Never happen. When you go to Rome, you do as the Romans do. You are the very same people who are causing the divide. Change your mentality and you would be looked at differently. If left up to some of you, you will take over and kick us out our little nation. I love you people. God made us all, but know your place. When I visit your countries and I do travel quite a lot but I act accordingly being in a strange land. I must say most of the other Caribbean Islands are spectacular. but some of the greatest minds and attitudes don’t travel to our shores. Stop with your divide and the people of the Virgin Islands will love and respect you. Some of us do love our little nation and would go to any length to preserve it. No pun intended, but you need to quit while you are ahead.

  29. Just sayinv says:

    Our main problem is work permit. There should be a limit on how much time a work permit can be renewed. Unless a person posses a not so readily found skill in the Territory, Their work permit should not be renewed more than five times. Stop importing all manner of people and allowing them to stay for unlimited amount of years.

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