Expatriate workers throughout the territory are being faced with yet another challenge — surviving without a salary as they await their work permit transfer.
Hundreds of expats were left jobless after last year’s hurricanes ravaged the territory. But, under BVI law, they are not allowed to work while a request for a work permit transfer is being processed.
Persons who have held work permits for more than three years are allowed to remain in the territory for at least three months while seeking employment alternative sectors such as construction.
Mouths to feed
However, some expats who spoke to our news centre admitted they have no other choice but to work under the shadows; taking up odd jobs to survive as they await their work permit transfer.
One expatriate worker told BVI News he cannot sit and wait because he has bills to pay and three children to care for.
He said his monthly bills usually amount to $1,500. He further told BVI News that he has been dipping into his savings to cope while his permit is processed.
“It [hurricanes] caused many of us to be jobless, even though we find a little part-time job in construction,” he lamented yesterday.
According to another source, the challenges being faced at the Labour and Immigration Department have made life increasingly difficult.
“It’s really hard. I don’t mean the construction is hard, but to find a job, to go to Labour and Immigration, I don’t know why it got like that.”
The St Vincent and the Grenadines national revealed that before the hurricanes forced him into the construction sector, he was a novice in construction
He jokingly noted the foul language he has had to hear while ‘learning the ropes’. He also noted the non-life threatening injuries he sustained in the past few months on the construction site.
Like many, he has to ‘hustle’ to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith recently announced that the Immigration Department would be implementing an online application process for entry permits.
The change is being rolled out to improve the Immigration process which has been described as cumbersome.
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