BVI News

Eligible expats to benefit from residency amnesty

Premier Fahie

Describing it as a ‘vexing issue’ in need of urgent attention, Premier Andrew Fahie has pledged to regularise expatriates who are eligible to benefit from residency status in the British Virgin Islands.

“There are people here who have lived and worked successfully for 15 and 20 years and more who have met every criterion for residency but whose application has stuck somewhere for no obvious reason,” the Premier said.

He said the issue affects ‘thousands of people’ who he described as persons who are made to ‘live in the shadows’.

Fahie further said priority is being placed on the issue because the local economy can only ne repaired if ‘people must come first’.

“It is both an urgent economic and moral issue. Their (expatriates) children are also suffering, severely limiting their opportunity for growth and limiting our ability to access their human resource potential,” he added.

“In short order, we shall consider having such friends, brothers and sisters with no police record or with no security concerns regularised through an amnesty.”

Issue breeds underclass, discourages local investment

In the meantime, Premier Fahie said the matter is negatively impacting the wider territory as well.

“By denying such persons’ residency, we are investing in an underclass which is a detriment to the society,” he explained. “These people are our neighbours and our friends, the people we worship with, who we fall in love with, the brothers who we play ball with, the mothers who work in the service industry, the men who build our infrastructure, the many who help us maintain our way of life, live and work here.”

He said because of the lack of status, the territory does not benefit from the cadre of potential expatriate investors that is available. They ‘send all their money back to their country of origin,’ he explained.

Special committee to be established

He said a committee is being established to tackle the matter.

“I will not be charged by God for not doing what He sent me to do for we believe such a policy is better for our economy and our society. And, it will significantly assist in cementing unity,” he stated.

During their campaign, the Fahie-led Virgin Islands Party said if given a chance, the party would foster an environment where expats will feel more comfortable to save and invest in the country.

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53 Comments

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  1. Reply says:

    Looks like the Premier, Mr. Fahie, is off and running. I’m impressed by this move along with some others he has made thus far. This one is long overdue.

    I am getting the impression Mr. Fahie is a fair guy, and that’s a good thing. If he keeps this up, I might have no choice other than to do a me·a cul·pa on these blogs.

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    • Call Me Ismael says:

      @reply I totally agree. He is putting in place the foundation to restore our democracy and rebuild our broken country.

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    • him says:

      nice nice

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      • Rubber Duck says:

        A good start. Mr Fahie makes the very valid point that it is economically bad as well as socially and morally bad to have a large underclass of second class citizens.

        And if “ natives” don’t like like it they can send them all home and get out and pump the gas, stack the shelves and clean the boats themselves.

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  2. Clown fish says:

    He is a good person with a good heart. I think he is on the right track with this one. Maybe past governments wanted to keep collecting the work permit revenue, and that is partly why they waited so long to grant residency status.

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    • Vislander says:

      Residency status still remain a privilege and not a right. There are persons who are of the view that because they live in a country for a certain period of time, they become entitled to a permanent status. They also feel that because they pay rent, taxes, buy from local businesses etc, that entitles them.
      They live in the country, they are expected to do those things. Have they sought to secure land/property or did they send all their money to their homeland to put in the credit union account, build a home there and so on…..these should be serious considerations when reviewing an application.
      We have a small country, we must be wise.

      Premier Fahie, all I am saying is be careful. Don’t go down the same road as the previous administrations, where they make these critical decisions, that affect our lives, and you don’t come to us and ask for our input. I am not a party supporter, I am about country. I will say that I did support VIP in this last election because the NDP administration just had to go…..but I admonish you honourable premier to tread carefully. You promised a government of inclusion, transparency and accountability and I for one will be holding you to it, SIR!

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      • Resident says:

        Will you be visiting every news site and post the same comments on the said headline? You are surly a haterrrrr. You did the Premier did not do his investigation before making a statement or he just get up from his bed and decide on this? Isn’t it a good thing to do for those persons who have lived over 20 years and wants to make BVI thier home?

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        • DR says:

          Solo quieres que nos exploten pagando permisos de trabajar y nada q nos convenga por eso muchos envían su dinero a su país porque no hay ningún tipo de apoyo para los inmigrantes en todo la llevamos perdida

      • To vislander says:

        Not everyone thinks like that. I’ve been living in the BVI for 30years…I had my children in the BVI AND I’m very proud to make it my home. Being that i wasn’t born in the BVI,I took a lot of “knock about” the immigration department being one main culprit who gave me all kind of excuses not to grant me residency, from V*****t to J******s,but I didn’t fight the system, I just pay for my time every year and keep in my lane. I still enjoying living in the BVI

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        • Wow says:

          I cant even imagine

        • To virginislander says:

          Why are you lying? Immigration does not grant residence.Fact check.

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          • Shut Up! says:

            Well I guess the residency card and certificate that I collected from the Immigration Department is fraudulent!I guess the ‘interview’ that I went to at the Immigration Department was a ploy….

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          • really now says:

            they approve belonger status as well…if you don’t know ask pls..

          • island man says:

            well as far as i know when expat applying for residency they had to get the relevant forms from the immigration department. i dont know if anything chance now. but you can go and check to see where you can get your facts from. ty.

          • really says:

            lol the person that give you the “fact check” is the one lying .lol

  3. Lol says:

    Pure jokes!!!!

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  4. son of the soil says:

    Just got in and selling us out already?

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    • Reply says:

      The Premier is beginning the process to right a long overdue wrong. He should be commended. Stop the fear mongering and divisive rhetoric.

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    • BVIslander says:

      No, he is doing the right thing! Persons that have been here 20 years, own businesses, employ locals, paying taxes, own property etc. and have never got into trouble with the law, why not? It’s residency, not Belonger. Residency means they can live, work etc. without having to renew permit, time etc. I think it is fair, 15-20 years is a long dam time.

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    • Pebbles says:

      How is this selling you out, when some of these people have lived here over 20 odd years? In most countries, you can get citizenship after 5 years. Open your mind. The world is changing very fast.

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      • TGV says:

        Not only that, BVI-islanders are all over in other people’s countries especially in the US as green card holders and citizens. They run to PR and elsewhere to have their babies who get full citizenship at birth. So why shouldn’t expats who live here, work, buy property, set up a business, pay taxes etc not gain some sort of status after a certain number of years? They want status in other countries but don’t want others to have status in their country. Please.

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        • Voter says:

          Not sure why this is breaking news. the NDP did the same back in 2003 and got a lot of flack for it. They the introduced a policy of granting residency and belongher status to a certain every year once the back log was cleared up.

          Cant see how it was bad then and could be good now.

        • lol says:

          you sound jealous because you cant do like us

        • @TGV says:

          Expatriates residing in the BVI go to Puerto RiCo, they have green cards also and have children also then bring them back to reside . What is your problem if a bvislander get a child in Puerto Rico and have a Dam green card? But then again I can see straight though you n people like you.

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      • Yep says:

        What are the population of those countries? This country is so small, that if you keep giving things away rapidly, you won’t have anything for locals.

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        • Correct grammar says:

          What is the population and not what are the population.

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        • Population. says:

          The BVI needs an economy of about 50,000 to make the business environment economically prosperous and don’t have to engage in the wholesale overcharging that is going on now. Most times businesses have to overcharged to remain viable because there is no volume to the economy. However there still remains this morbid fear of foreigners that is counter productive to the viability of the BVI economy in numerous ways.
          NHI for example will never be viable with this minuscule population, a half of which are not paying into the system. There is no need to flood the economy but a systematic well thought out way should be put in place to grow the population with the required expertise and people of good character.

      • Dee says:

        Some ppl should be ashamed of themselves now. I remember some of the ndp supporters saying to me that vip don’t care about island people….we will prove them wrong!

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    • sad says:

      You should be ashame of yourself.. god don’t like ugly

  5. Fake News says:

    Why were they no mention of this when they were on the radio attacking the other minster who were being harassed about he is not from here or his wife is not from here? We heard nothing from him, but he understand how to play with people emotions. Time will show it colors.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve never heard VIP or any other party attack anybody or their wife based on where they are from so that’s is pure propaganda that you are spreading.

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    • @Fake News says:

      You are so biased you cannot see truth. The Premier denounced any attacks on that. He did not agree.

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  6. bvi local says:

    Good Job Premier… Please note their people hear working for years same way getting a salary and never paid a social security or nhi because their mentality is to come to the BVI and work and send home all their money…Something need to put in place for those on Government work permit when they going to renew you guys need to be sure their NHI and SS is up to date..For the upcoming process put this into consideration. As a local standing at a certain establishment I’ve over heard person waiting in a long line to send away their hard working money saying they here 3 and 4 years and never contribute to either SS or NHI….Look into this

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    • Unpaid SS for over year says:

      I have over 6 years outstanding SS arrear owed by my past employer who took it out of my paycheck every 2 weeks and pocket it for him self and no law up to now can’t hold him responsible because he is a son of the soil. Every time I go to social security they say his remittance will cover it and yet nothing. The last time I went they told me not to go back and if I am leaving the country bring in my pay slips which are my proof and give it to them. So maybe you need to redirect your investigation @bvi local and find your local brother who is “untouchable by law ” it seems.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Funny how when our leaders/politicians sell us and our lands out to people who historically do not like us, we never hear a pip squeak.

    Nothing but silence is heard as we permanently lose our future wealth possibilities, human dignity and any hope of building financial wealth.

    But when a moral, human and even christian decision is made politically to help our own people, it is deemed a sell out.

    There are some prejudices we must rid ourselves of. It is they that are holding us back and keeping us divided.

    We are one people, from the same ancestry and we are all hated by the same man. It is time we grow up mentally, historically and humanly.

    At the rate we are losing our lands, we will soon become a landless people. and, people with no land are powerless and are treated less than animals. Research history for self to find those truths.

    It is a very bad place to be in where you hate yourself and your own, and are equally hated by other people who live in your country and do not even associate with you. It is similar to a viper being in your house, but you don’t know until you are bitten by it.

    Hope you get the point.

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  8. Indigenous Virgin Islander says:

    Fahie! Fahie! Fahie!

    This is not why I elected you. I voted for you in part because you are an indigenous Virgin Islander. I expect you to protect us, not go and sell us out to the lowest common denominator.

    Indigenous Virgin Islanders should be treated with first preference in everything because this is our country. If you give out residency status to all those thousands, you are going to take away first preference status to many of us and giving it to them. Our matters come first Fahie, not the immigrants.

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    • My adopted home. says:

      Stop the scaremongering xenophobic self. We do not have thousands of people who have met the criteria and Premier Fahie doesn’t intend to just give people this basic status willy nilly.
      Making decent people who have been here living and contributing to the territory for decades resident is only fair and will only help to move the country forward as the premier says.
      People like u r afraid that u will lose your backra master status, whereby u like to treat others as lesser human beings and threaten to send them home as you please.
      And is people like u who sit and criticize Donald Trump for the way he treats immigrants and I can bet u also call yourself Christian and I can bet u have benefited from the U.S birthright citizenship policy.

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      • Of course its thousands says:

        More than half of our population is not from here. And a large number of those people meet the criteria. So we talking about adding thousands of people as residents and 1 year later thousands as belongers.

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        • Expat says:

          So what if the government decides to grant us residency based on the length of time we are here and the contribution we are making to the territory?
          All it will do is make people feel more a part of this country and give u the drive to work even harder to make here a better place. It will also reduce the outflow of money from the territory. Many people don’t even save their money here because of the fact that they don’t have any status and could be told to leave at any time.
          Minister Fahie is a sensible man. He knows that together we are stronger.
          Giving people status doesn’t mean that they are going to take over your country.
          I have been here for 20 years working and contributing to the country. Giving me a little piece of paper to say I am now a resident will change nothing except give me the motivation to work even harder to build this country that I love.

  9. God's Not Dead says:

    I see this Premier loves to pray good job stand firm sir and as praises goes up blessing comes down to the entire VIP team and this nation

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  10. No name says:

    It’s funny how our government in South Africa is working our people that was born and lived in South Africa who must get job less due to apartheid and now you go and work aboard in other countries were you find a job and must now come and do your tax every year “we lost our jobs for make way to the other colour of people now it’s still not good and government stuff up the economic in south Africa and come with an idea expatriates must all so contribute to the tax law but you don’t want to give us jobs in south Africa” just a thought guys it shows the government can’t be without our help anymore

  11. Rayn says:

    Congratulations.This is a bold and good step in the right direction.God will grant you favor ,wisdom and guidance in Jesus name.

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  12. competitor says:

    this is the most promising line to come out of a BVI politician for years. It’s brave because in any country, making foreign nationals permanent residents or citizens is always going to attract criticism. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. BVI competes for its economic survival with Bermuda, Cayman, Delaware, Channel Islands, HK and Singapore to name a few. Cayman is way ahead of the game in this area. perfect? no. of course there are all sorts of positive and negative comments but nobody can deny the economy and the opportunities within and outside of finance for Caymanians has exploded over the last ten years. It also has a generation of Caymanians born to foreigners now who are becoming proud young adults, shoulder to shoulder with classmates who have one or both parents from Cayman. The economy there has not just grown but broadened and they are far less concerned than BVI and Bermuda about these ridiculous EU regulations that some crooked ministers in the UK are pushing for their own political agenda. It serves Cayman well for BVI and Bermuda to continue to make it difficult for people who have given everything to here and there and have children born in the islands because as economic substance requirements bring any opportunity, it may as well be in Cayman where the international clients will be able to attract their senior staff to set up office and to stay, with decent education and healthcare. Easier to send a BVI company to Cayman than try to start in BVI #crossroads

    • Shallow minded humans says:

      Can anyone on the blogs tell me which country or countries they know of that expat ever took over? Law abiding expats are move help to a country than detrimental. Ill just touch on this point. We just face a bad storm a year ago , who help build our country back. The masons, Carpenters, electrians, cleaners, the guy that came in to help with restoring electricity, security for curfew etc. these are the same ppl we speak of. The new primier said one thing the everyone is missing. He said he trying to keep the money from leaving country is that not a good thing for our country knowing what we facing today

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  13. genna says:

    i think you should look into exemption requirements after paying for permit for 6 years with the same employer ,employee should be entitle to an exemption card

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  14. Expat says:

    Thank u Premier Fahie. The lord will bless you for looking out for your brothers and sisters especially from right here in the Caribbean.
    We expats will not forget your kindness and will support you as you try to build this beautiful country that we all call home. Blessings always.

  15. What says:

    Ignorant comment shit from This lot.

  16. Easy says:

    Ten years – permanent resident with right to work for as long as you stay.
    15 years – full voting rights
    Retaining the conditions that any new working residents are only accepted if an eligible BVIslander or permanent resident is not applying
    Direct more permit and permanent resident fees directly into education and vocational training

    BVI will actual end up with a larger and more robust economy but a more stable one with less requirement for transitional or visiting workforce.

    A more robust population would necessitate more schools and generate some competition and constructive rivalry for our kids bringing academic and sporting standards higher and increasing integration and common purpose and identity.
    Many will still fill a gap for 6 months twelve month or a couple of years of course and that is fine as long as our own people have opportunities here.

    Match that with a resident stamp duty rate about 5%, keeping non residents up about 10% and locals about 2.5% over 300k purchase price. This means more opportunities for locals in industries such as construction, home automation, green tech, and every service industry and retail sector and better prospects for small businesses here to succeed.

    Put another way, every year we don’t do this Cayman, Singapore, Delaware etc will take more of our opportunities and clients.

    Let’s use a national holiday for co-ordinated embellishment of BVI also. Not just tidying it up but a range of community projects and BVI cultural elements where everyone is welcome and joins in.

  17. The right word says:

    I agree with the Premier and glad to see what he is doing but it is not “amnesty”…these people are law abiding. Amnesty is where there is some illegality involved. So they need to drop that word and call it something else.

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