BVI News

‘Everything going online’: Labour, Immigration to officially merge this week

“Every single thing [will be done] online. The only thing you will have to do is to come into the ministry to pay [for the permit]” — Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley.

In a move to streamline and upgrade government’s service offering, the departments of Labour and Immigration are set to officially merge on Wednesday.

A soft launch for the merger is to be held at the Immigration Department in Road Town.

Minister responsible for Labour, Vincent Wheatley, said while there will be no immediate physical change, other changes will be visible.

“What we are hoping to do is to create an e-government platform for these two departments and link them electronically,” Wheatley told BVI News.

Wheatley said new permits will be processed during the pilot phase, while permits that are already in the system will be weaved in over time.

“Every single thing [will be done] online. The only thing you will have to do is to come into the ministry to pay [for the permit],” Wheatley said.

First time Labour, Immigration under same ministry

With this new merger, both departments will be under the same ministry for the first time, Wheatley said.

“In the past, the Immigration department was under the Premier’s office, and Labour department was under Natural Resources Ministry,” he explained.

He further said persons can expect their processing times at either department to be “significantly cut down” with the impending changes.

“It is a very important first step in making the government more efficient and streamlining our services,” he added.

Former Junior Minister for Trade, Marlon Penn, first announced the prospect of the merger back in March last year. He said eliminating the long lines outside the Immigration Department by replacing it with an appointment system was the first step towards that goal.

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  1. Not2Sure says:

    Well, it is about time. Kudos to the new government for finally getting this done, but let’s not kid ourselves. Most other countries did this 10-20 years ago. We are still just catching up.

    Like 29
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    • Rubber Duck says:

      Other countries have been paying taxes and bills to government utilities on line for 20 years and more. When will the Backward Virgin Islands catch up with that?

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  2. Laughing says:

    This was obviously in the works from under the former government but everyone is acting as if this new government came in on a unicorn with magic wands and just making things happen. This is good news either way and long overdue.

    Like 47
    Dislike 15
    • Exactly says:

      @laughing…I keep saying the samething cant these folks see whatever is going on are things that were put in place with the prior Government. I’m going to continue saying the samething. Stop trying to prove and show that the New Government already working.

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  3. Just Ice says:

    well lets hope this is competently launched and ends up being as excellent as the idea!

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  4. bottom line says:

    Marlon is a talker—-Vincent is a doer

    Like 12
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    • Honestly Speaking says:

      Imagine that you can think that the merger of these departments can happen in a week. It shows that you really have no clue about how Government functions. It is like the contractor does all the work on a house and you come posing with the key and the finished house for your picture like you build it!

      Like 22
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      • reality says:

        Please. can we focus on the positive in our government instead of the many who still playing the game of who did what and when? Good things are in the works for the good of all the people here let’s just be happy and positive that things are moving forward and just be thankful and positive for that

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        • Reality yes says:

          Yes I agree we focus on the positive; however, we should not downplay what the others have done and I refuse to accept the fact that an honest person feels good about taking the credit for what someone else did. Give the credit to the ones who really got this project started.

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      • Yangon says:

        I have literally no idea what is meant by what you wrote. Can you please try again in English?

      • Huhh??? says:

        That’s a dumb analogy. If the house is your you can pose whenever you want. Think before you talk.

    • ????? says:

      Ask Vincent who set up the infrastructure for this? If they are ready to launch, it means that the work was being done by someone before and people with sense know that setting up something like this takes time. This was obviously started by the past Government!

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    • Bottom line says:

      Nope, not!! VIP is biting off the things that were already put in play. Fine, but give credit where credit is due.

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  5. Ausar says:


    Awesome, awesome news!

    E-commerce,finally, fot the BVI government!

    Continue to impress us, Premier Fahie!

    Like 10
    Dislike 30
    • ??? says:

      E-commerce only relates to the buying and selling of things online, none of which relates to this platform….. k?

  6. VG Resident says:

    Why not pay on-line also instead to having to go to a building to pay for something. Use credit cards quick and easy.

    Like 30
    • Looking On says:

      That should be the next phase implemented within 1 year or less from the implementation of the merger. So targeting a date of 30 April 2020 the latest for making payments online

      Like 10
      • Me says:

        Just carry in your online receipt and collect your renewal documents, make your appointment at immigration and get your stamp in your passport. Viola!

    • Curious Cat says:

      Yeah. Next…. online stamp in your passport. (smh)

    • Ksm says:

      You still have to go to pick up the documents. We are not as advance to get it through msil yet

  7. VIP all de way says:

    Thank god VIP are in and NDP are out.

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  8. Youth says:

    next move should be getting rid of elders therefore youngs persons can actually get jobs n this is for the entire government departments.

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  9. Confucius says:

    Excellent. This is another initiative that should have been done a long time ago. For much too long, employers have had to suffer without their employees as the employees wasted many hours and sometimes days, sitting at Labour and Immigration due to the lengthy processes involved with work permits and work permit renewals.

    It is long past due. I don’t care who is responsible for it, it is simply a great idea that should have been rolled out long ago!

    Kudos to everyone involved!

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  10. Trolling says:

    Thank Heavens for VIP, cause NDP would have never thought of this.

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    • Have some sense says:

      Really now???? Ask the Government and see what they tell you

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    • Anonymous says:

      @Trolling i guess you cannot read properly or your understanding is lacking i will advice you to read this carefully. Former Junior Minister for Trade, Marlon Penn, first announced the prospect of the merger back in March last year. He said eliminating the long lines outside the Immigration Department by replacing it with an appointment system was the first step towards that goal

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    • ?? says:

      And your comment was wasted.Think about it, today is one month since the elections. How would all the ground work need for something of this magnitude happen within a month. Always be willing to give credit where it is due. Elections are over now. Let it me about the advancement of us.

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  11. Finally! says:

    This is long awaited. NDP initiated this coming out of the mcKinsey report but allowed go government department employees to stifle it. They were too afraid to step on toes and break down the fiefdoms that senior civil servants have created. It is time for a government with teeth. I pray that Andrew has found his.

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  12. Stamper says:


  13. PROUD says:

    Happy to see the Government is about the people and that they are carrying our the mandate they met. We are working together for the betterment of the BVI.

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  14. Jaime says:

    Well guess what.. it may have been an NDP initiative but the VIP is bringing it to fruition so they both deserve credit…it’s about time this was done to alleviate the long lines and waiting time.. doing things online is the way of the future even paying bills etc.. we are a small country but we r slowly getting there with improvement of our services.. one of the areas that also need improvement is whereby “only “ one person can assist u with a particular service and if they are out it’s like service comes to a halt.. this is highly annoying .. keep up the good work Minister Wheatley.. Kudos!!!

  15. Immigration lines says:

    At last an automated system that removes having to go and deal with gov employees with bad attitudes ,poor work ethic and incompetence.

  16. Uncle says:

    Just make sure that Inland Revenue, Social Security Board and National Health Insurance are also online. Government taxes and social revenues should be paid in full before approvals are granted.

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