Labour & Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley has announced that government is considering to implement a ‘work from paradise’ programme that is currently being explored by some Caribbean countries to revive their COVID-hit tourism industries.
The new work from paradise trend is being used by Caribbean countries with low COVID-19 cases. It capitalises on the work-from-home trend by encouraging people to move their home office overseas and vacation for longer periods.
Speaking on the Honestly Speaking radio show on November 3, Minister Wheatley said the government is studying the countries in the region that have implemented the programme and are trying to find the best ways that the BVI could earn income from this avenue.
“What I didn’t get from the programmes I saw was ‘how was that country making money from that person’s presence’? Yes they may rent a villa, they may go to a few restaurants or supermarkets but my question is, ‘is that all you can get from them’?” Wheatley explained.
Barbados, as well as fellow British Overseas Territories Cayman and Anguilla, are among the jurisdictions that have implemented the scheme to lure professionals to work in paradise. In Cayman’s case, persons can stay for up to two years by acquiring a Global Citizen Certificate.
However, Minister Wheatley said the government may not be able to grant work-from-paradise stays that are too long, otherwise, they may start infringing on other laws within the BVI.
In the meantime, Wheatley said in the short-term, the government is seeking to offer an extension to tourists who can only stay a maximum of 30 days in the BVI.
He said no laws would need to be amended to implement this measure but interested visitors would need to send an email to the Chief Immigration Officer outlining their intent to stay longer than 30 days.
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