BVI News

Gov’t would ‘consider’ assisting unemployed expats to return home

Labour & Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley said government would consider assisting unemployed expats to leave the territory if they request it.

Wheatley made that statement on the heels of his announcement in the House of Assembly that expatriate residents who lost their jobs since COVID-19 and have no means to support themselves must leave the territory.

He said: “We have had no requests from anyone as yet but I think if persons come and say, ‘I would like to get back home and the situation is such a challenge’, we would have to consider it. We are a very caring government.” 

How would you support yourself?

In the meantime, Minister Wheatley sought to defend of his statement that unemployed expats must leave.

“Of course nobody wants to make people feel like they are not welcome, it’s not about that. We are a very welcoming nation. But the reality is [that] it is a concern for any nation to have persons not occupied and gainfully employed who don’t have family and friends to help them through this rough time,” he explained.

“So we are asking them to leave before things get too dire. If you are here and you are unemployed, how are you being sustained? How are you paying your bills, how are you doing anything? I don’t know what they would do. Are you planning to what, beg for money? Are you stealing money, are you borrowing money, what are you doing? So to save them from themselves, I think it is best that we should ask them to go home,” the minister further said.

Wheatley said if an unemployed person returns home, they could be assisted by family and friends until the COVID-19 crisis subsides and normalcy returns.

“That’s all we are saying, we are not chasing anybody. If you are working, we know you are working and you could probably sustain yourself. But if you are not working, it can only lead to things bad, I believe, because your needs aren’t taking a break. The challenge is nobody knows how long COVID-19 is going to be here for. So we cannot tell you, ‘hold on for another two months and we will take care of you’ or ‘hold on for another three months’. Next thing we know, ten months and we still here in the same condition,” he reasoned.

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79 Comments

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  1. Reality says:

    I’m an expat and I am working but if I wasn’t working why would I want to stay. Mr Wheatley you don’t have to explain yourself because this was always the norm, I don’t see why people should be upset. As you say, where would one get money to support themselves if they are not working, the crime would go up so please let’s work together my expat families especially the ones that come to the bvi lately this is not hatred it’s just reality I would take up the offer and go back home, why should you embarrass yourself and live in a country where you cannot provide for yourself and family just face reality and go and don’t let no one have to force you out.

    Like 73
    Dislike 1
    • Hapoy says:

      Government need to send some back down the island

      Like 3
      Dislike 38
      • @Hapoy says:

        First, you are so quick to respond you won’t even take the time to type your name right.

        Second, why are you supposing that only people from the other islands have lost their jobs and need to return home? Aren’t there just as many from the UK, Australia, America and whereever else that may have also lost their jobs? When are we going to stop suppressing people of our own culture?!! For some reason there are no comments about people from other cultures needing to leave the island.

        We are matching on and on about black lives matters but whenever Mr Wheatley talks we are ready to send black people back to wherever! When are we going to start supporting our own – just try and show some understanding and compassion for goodness sake! This is a natural disaster of enormous proportion – everyone in every part of the world has been affected. Please let’s start caring for our own for a change! Please!

        Like 41
        Dislike 6
      • @Happy says:

        This does not apply only to the down Island people as you call them, (SIC) how rude. There are other nationality that is here IE….. Dominicans, Indians, African, Chinese, South America, Haiti and the list goes on and on. Tortola is a diverse Country, a mixture of everything lives in Tortola.

      • Boss man says:

        Another storm will soon come this god dont sleep

        Like 3
        Dislike 2
    • Great says:

      Vip is for locals and have proven that ndp was for them island people. Vip all the way y’all don’t got to explain nothing them island people can’t vote

      Like 6
      Dislike 26
    • Nationalist says:

      You not be here in the first place steal our jobs for lower wages

  2. Immigration Bond? says:

    What about the immigration bond given by employers when they sponsor persons for work permits?

    Like 31
    Dislike 1
  3. Caring government? says:

    Did he just really say: “we are a very caring government?”

    Please.

    You do not care at all!

    Where are those stimulus plans you talked about? Where are those fines for employers who willfully withheld NHI payments without paying NHI for employees now to be ineligible to receive benefits?

    You do not care at all, you only care about making your friends richer.

    Like 51
    Dislike 31
  4. Signals says:

    Fasten your seat belts, the signal is that the world is in trouble and that can only spell hard times for the BVI.

    I support Hon Vincent Wheatly, and hope those unemployed will access help from the BVI Government.

    More babies are aborted in America annually than the current, world wide death count from COVID19, but no one cares, except God Himself.

    Meanwhile, Covid19 cases are multiplying in the USVI, PR, DR, USA, UK. UK has the world’s highest death rate per million, USA have the highest deaths and total cases; when are we opening up for business?

    Will the BVI open it’s borders to tourists in 2020? The signals are telling me no, what say you?

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  5. Doh says:

    This man is a b*****n.

    He claims to care about people, yet his statements contradict that. The process of uprooting and leaving is one of hardship and financial burden. Not to mention the emotional and psychological stress that it adds. Being forced to leave without an option shows how heartless the BVI has become.

    Next he will want to start rounding up expats and putting them in camps – for safety and security of course. Let’s build a wall.

    I***t

    Like 13
    Dislike 27
    • Local says:

      Doh what options there is no telling when this virus will end and at the looks at things it will get worst before it gets better ,he saying the right thing it’s best to go back home. To

      Like 3
      Dislike 3
      • Doh says:

        Go home to what? These people left their countries to come work and build something for not only themselves, but also those in the BVI. Some brought skills, knowledge,and a willingness to work. Something that at times is sorely lacking here. They built a home, maybe even a family, and now their contribution is to rip all that up and go where? These people, more than likely, have nothing to go to. Home is where you are and what you make of it.

        This is what this failed minister does not comprehend.

        Like 1
        Dislike 3
        • I want to understand... says:

          …why you all always dissing the locals but you all so disturbed by the thought of going to your own homeland. Regardless of how much credit you take for building BVI, this is not your home. You should always be ready to return to your homeland at the drop of a hat. I have traveled the world and there is no place like my home. Seems like you all would like to see the Government starve locals and feed expats. Be fair, your own must come first.

    • Camillia DeRoche says:

      Did you commit a serious crime back home? If not, then you have no reason to be afraid to go back. If you leave peacefully then I am sure you will be able to return if things improve.

  6. Please says:

    Send them island people home

    Like 4
    Dislike 32
    • @ please says:

      Honestly speaking, that’s just what it will boil down to. Notice the government been asking them kindly to leave these past months.. but at the same token, the bvi enabled them from the jump so it is what it is.

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
    • "Island people" says:

      You mean the same island peopke who helped the BVI out of the hurricane crisis?? Ingrates.

      Like 7
      Dislike 2
      • Yup says:

        Those would be the same people….

        How quickly BVI forgets their neighbors and friends. Always with their hand out but never offered when others are in need.

        BVI first

  7. Maybe... says:

    Hon. Wheatley with all due respect, you are talking RUBBISH! You are NOT a caring Government! If the business stimulus and proper communication with businesses went like it should, a lot of these people would be gainfully employed. The major issue is businesses CANNOT plan because there’s NO PLAN! So most businesses are being cautious and scaling back in a major way, thereby increasing the number of unemployed or underemployed. I don’t think the Government can help everyone or every business but surely if there were better systems in place there would be a lot less unemployed. Now there’s a worst situation for businesses when things do pick up but some of their stellar employees that made their businesses successful have left because things are so dire, then what? It’s not as easy as just bring in someone else, it doesn’t work like that! If this was a caring Government, the first step after securing the SS funds would have been to assist businesses on the condition that they kept employees. 3 months have passed and your Government has FAILED the people!!

    Like 41
    Dislike 7
  8. Long time work permit holders says:

    There are some folks in the BVI that have been here for 10+ years. They home is the BVI. Many have children that were born here. You kick these people out!? How about make them BVI Islanders if you care so much about them. Many of these people are the backbone of this country. SHAME ON YOU

    Like 24
    Dislike 14
    • Lawdy says:

      Did you read the article. It said IF YOU want to go home not THEY WILL send you home.

      Like 6
      Dislike 6
    • really says:

      MAKE THEM WHAT BVI ISLANDERS!!! IS SO BAD YOU GUYS DON’T LOVE WHERE YOU GUYS ORIGINALLY FROM???

      pLEASE gIVE mE a dAMN bREAK!!!!

      No Jobs Simple Go Home!!!

      BVI Government Can Hardly Feed The born HERE LOCALS What Makes Expats So special???

      Like 11
      Dislike 11
      • since when says:

        Since when is it the governments responsibility to feed people?

        Work for your own food. Expats, not expats, born in the US-islanders.

        But at the same time, you paid your taxes for so long? Probably more than those “born here” live somewhere else locals. You should get your benefits.

        Like 5
        Dislike 2
        • Ken says:

          Of course BVI Belongers go abroad to better themselves. However, they have no problem with returning home, while you hate the fact that it is being mentioned that expats should return home if they are unemployed. Is that not interesting???

          You will certainly have a good chance of securing employment at home without the hastle of getting work permit etc. What is so wrong with the option for those who have several.

          Like 4
          Dislike 2
    • beach bird says:

      if u read and comprehend u would of understand clearly …it state expats living in the bvi 5 yrs and under. why stay and suffer in another man country is not the bvi alone doing this , why when the bvi doing thier stuffs you all quick to criticize . in another man country you all humble you all damn self .

      Like 13
      Dislike 3
    • DUMMY says:

      the people they’re talking about are work permit holders here for under 5 years. not the people you’re referring to. ya’ll annoying bad.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  9. Oh boy says:

    Listen, them expats don’t like to hear these kinda things..them does get real vex when them hear go home. It’s like calling a woman a “female dog”. Even tho the situation is grim, I feel they feel Government and it’s people rubbing them the wrong way right now.

  10. TBH says:

    They came here for a better life, a better dime, to take care of their affairs, to build them house,ect…some had to scratch their last penny to get here and scratched harder to maintain

    so to me, they(expats) feel some type of way.Even though some might want to leave, them ain gon just volunteer just so if you get where I’m coming from.

    I guess they figure in due time, things will get better so let’s just wait and see. Some have been there for quite some time and some have recently arrived.

    expats consider themselves part of the economy, the culture, the livelihood of tortola,ect..so I think they are thinking like this.. the same way the government doing for its people- the expats think they deserve the same thing or same treatment as well being that they consider themselves part of the bvi now.

    Honestly speaking, the government was very lenient in the beginning until they over did it and caused certain things on themselves. You gon have to pull up your big boy socks and expect to take care of every single body in tortola till this things over with.

    Like 5
    Dislike 9
    • Liza says:

      I understand what you are saying, and it is true. No one is saying that they cannot return, so they can wait and see if things get better at home. I seeing 5 and 6 people living in one bedroom houses (including couples). Is that not a grim situation?

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
  11. Hmmmmmm says:

    “… we are asking them to leave before things get too dire”

    Does the government know something we do not know?

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
    • Haha says:

      If you are unemployed for 1 or 2 months you maybe able to survive and pay rent etc. without an income. The longer you stay unemployed things will be dire. You will do things you may not want to do to survive.

    • Reading is Fundamental says:

      The challenge is nobody knows how long COVID-19 is going to be here for. So we cannot tell you, ‘hold on for another two months and we will take care of you’ or ‘hold on for another three months’. Next thing we know, ten months and we still here in the same condition,” he reasoned.

  12. Wow says:

    There are expats of other races here as well. So do not make it look like only black Caribbean expats should leave. You BVI people are very prejudiced.

    That is why when you leave your country to better your economic situation, you should invest in your home country whilst you are out. At least, buy a piece of land in your home country.

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
    • local says:

      Exactly!!! they come here to put on a show. Going out Every Weekend, spending money hair weave shoe rum club cars rims music etc. and now BOOM! They don’t want to go home because they out here so long and didn’t invest in nothing with sense than putting on a show to there homeland…..to say BVI nice and money fee flow!! is shame why many don’t want to leave!!!!

      Like 13
      Dislike 2
      • Really... says:

        Your coment is laced with racism. Whites are expats tooooooo!!!!

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
      • @Local says:

        Most of them are ashamed to return to their Country because they were GAS LIGHTING people in their Country about how they were living large. How are they going to save face when they return home a pauper with nothing to show. LOL, laughing stocks they shall become. I would hang my head in shame if I was GAS LIGHTING the people of my Country about living large in another man’s Country and I have to return with nothing or any accomplishments.

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
      • Massa says:

        U talking bull s**t u locals are very lazy riding bike sox an slipper out sider work an save their money

        Like 1
        Dislike 2
    • Hmmm says:

      Wow, I agree with you, so you must have property at home, so why are you afraid to leave.

  13. Not right says:

    Minister Wheatley why don’t you instruct the companies to pay severance to the unemployed expat so they can leave. You extended lay off to 7 months from 3 months, how can you expect people to leave, without their severance, without the money paid into their pension plan, and still not knowing if they will be expected to return to work come October? A lot of companies are holding out until October to reopen. If you had stuck with the 3 months, allow companies to pay out severance etc. then people would have been able to make a better decision on knowing if they are staying or leaving.

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
    • @Not right says:

      Pay severance out of what?

      Like 4
      Dislike 5
      • really.??? says:

        What do mean out of what?? This is the labour laws of the BVI. These are things companies should be prepared for, especially when they have long standing employees.Find the money to pay them, same way the landlords expect their rent, utilities etc. Where they getting the money to pay that, but most are paying. Pay people what they are owed so they can leave your island.

    • Care about the people wow! says:

      Pay off the people so they can leave. They take taxes from your salary and pocket it for years yet employees are being sent home because employers stole their money, what wickedness is this. After working 15 years with a company you extend from 3 months to 7 months lay off because business are complaining what about the staff? You give 3 months to find a job or leave. So people should leave without their soverence pay and you care about the people. God is in control.

      Like 11
  14. Onlooker says:

    Alot of u people complaining about a policy dats been in place for years caz in reality dats an everyday policy or requirement of d any immigration system its not like we dnt no dat so y complain alot of us cum here to d bvi and we turn or back on family and frens and wat we had our own country lots of people never even visit back their country since they came here and thus u scared to go home caz u hav nutin to go to.At d same time going home is not about d goverment treating people harshly or unjustly or dat we dnt hav d money to go home and finacially hard ship caz look if it wasnt for dis covid alot of u wud of spent ur last dollar to go home dis summer or even go elsewhere there is no place sweeter dan home never forget dat and what he is saying makes more senses look at d situation carfully and understand do u prefer to sit here and constantly begg ur friends to borrow or give u money or u want to spend d little saving dat u hav on rent as uposed to going home wit it where d dollar is double common people usecommon sense

  15. one love says:

    as an expat as they saw if was not working I would be long gone cares not what behind me for20yrs.

  16. Every Country says:

    It boils down to every Country for themselves and their own. Each Country number 1 priority is looking out for and taking care or their own. If you are in another man’s Country and you lost or was terminated from employment and no longer have an income, you are going to be asked to leave. You can be allowed to return when things get better. Mr. Wheatley, every other Country the Government is chartering flights to send home the people to their Original place of birth. Honestly, I am a tax payer who is willing to use some of my tax money to fund this.

    • @Citizen says:

      As a tax payer, I agree. The ones who have paid taxes and is required to leave due to lost of job and no longer have a job, simply check their work record and give them a check for the taxes they have paid. At least they have something in their pockets to leave with and the Government will not owe them anything.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
  17. BVI National says:

    Look! What the Minister is proposing is the norm everywhere. Why should unemployed persons on work permits be allow to remain if they are unable to find work? I would rather take licks in my county or origin or both any day compared to taking licks in another man country. If I was a BVI non-national, why would I want to remain in the BVI unemployed and can’t find work with no means of financial support. Are you kidding me. I would leave plea in and simple. I don’t see the point in arguing or debating this. It’s plain and simple logic.

    • @BVI says:

      It’s the norm yes, but it could have been averted if the Government had a PLAN to begin with, that’s the point. The businesses have been promised a stimulus program for over a month and up to today, there isn’t even a form to be filled out so by time any help is offered, the COVID vaccine may be already out!

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  18. Wow says:

    What’ about those u haven’t receive redundancy payment and u is the minister who push back the payment to October and now want them to leave some of whom or eligible for payment why you don’t say. You will have there employer. Have there money before they leave.

  19. Well Sah says:

    Excuses, excuses. Some say The Caribbean Airline rip them off and leave them dangling; some still waiting on severance pay, some say they flat out broke, and the ‘caring’ government say they may pick up the tabs. Why? What happened to immigration bonds? Are they just useless pieces of paperwork? ‘Taint every cow that bawl the most want the most milk.

    Bottom line is that every sensible country around the globe is inviting their unemployed live-in guests to return to their places of origin so that they can concentrate on and take better care of their people. What is wrong with that? Why people have the BVI to kill because they are trying to take care of their own? It is bad enough that there are tons of stragglers from other countries visibly chilling out in many areas all week for years now, doing absolutely nothing. Now many persons have started to come out of the woodworks with all kinds of excuses to further milk the fatted calf.

    An old man use to say when you meet an A—you ride it.

  20. Haycraft says:

    I suggest the BVI government along with the Social Security Board give all deducted contributions to the same people you’re asking to leave the territory. Give back them back their Social Security contributions. Now that would be caring. This is only fair in the sight of man and God.

    Like 19
    Dislike 5
  21. What!!! says:

    Why our Government offer to “assist” persons wishing to go home??? With our tax money??? When someone is bought in on a work permit a bond is required from immigration, that can be used if they have no money to return home.

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
    • 12345 says:

      what?? you need to go take a shower and sit your BACKSIDE down if you don’t have nothing to ok

      Like 3
      Dislike 4
    • Huh says:

      Everyone pay tax.

      Like 1
      Dislike 1
      • @HUH says:

        No, not every one pays taxes. When you buy something do you see a + tax sign next to the original price? If something cost a dollar do you pay a $1.00 or a $1.08? I think it is time for the Government to start charging taxes on everything that is sold in the BVI. That will be good revenue for the Country. In the US, even crack heads pay taxes when they purchase a soda.

        Like 1
        Dislike 4
  22. 12345 says:

    what?? you need to go take a shower and sit your BACKSIDE down if you don’t have nothing to ok

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  23. down2earth says:

    Countries of origin have provided and continue to provide return home transport … The Virgin Islands (Br) did it. I admire India … They had hundred thousands.

  24. Me says:

    People in this place are so foolish. The govt is simply pandering to you all. Appearing to do things you all want to see. However, what has the govt really dont for ordinary bvislanders? Have you all benefited from stimulus packages? Have your children been offered scholarships without all the red tape. While you all are busy hating, pull the wool away from your eyes. I’m just looking and laughing as every expat should.

    Like 6
    Dislike 2
  25. Question says:

    With all that has happened since March, we are now in July and we have not heard NOT ONCE from the Jr. Minister of Trade or the Jr. Minister of Tourism. These are the most crucial departments/ministries right now and TOTAL SILENCE! How can people continue to praise these inept elected officials is beyond me. Meanwhile we are digging up good roads down at waterfront drive and waiving pom poms because some NFL guys said they want to come here to smoke weed. We must be the biggest f***ing idiots on the entire planet.

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  26. Islaman says:

    I understand and want you to understand I am here for 8 years and all my taxes are paid. My claim is not that I pay my return that is always had, I am not from here, my main point is 65 of my SS and you must understand it and that God continues to protect Bvi

  27. Not Smart says:

    What kind of crazy offer is that? People should not receive assistance to go home unless they are being deported. Where else have you heard this. Expats have their money to do what they want. Have you ever taken the time to visit the money transfer companies.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Is there a number persons can call to get assistance to leave. There are some persons who want to go but the borders are closed

  29. Concerned says:

    Is there a number persons can call to get assistance to leave. There are some persons who want to go but the borders are closed

  30. J.Malone says:

    I live in the BVI for 35 years, my mom is an American my dad is a BVISLANDER, I was born in Massachusetts, my parents moved here when I was 3, I don’t know if I have any rights on this island,but I know for a fact that my mother made my father the man he is today, he had nothing wanted nothing because he himself will tell you that he lacked self esteem, class and was lazy and nasty with an attitude, but to my fellow black islanders if I were you I would go back to my island let them have their rock to imbreed and commit their s**omy, you guys are a threat to how they
    are accustomed to live their nasty lives.
    Always remember the man who s**t ah road never remember but the one who step in it never forget the stench.
    It’s coming BVISLANDERS. God don’t like ugly and he care very little for the pretty.

    Like 1
    Dislike 8
  31. A plot says:

    Their severance pay is delayed by up to 6 months but they have to leave now. Who benefits? Island people cannot win.

  32. $$$$$$$$$$ says:

    That sweet American dollar is the reason they don’t want to leave. In their Country, their money is not worth much. Can you imagine trying to live on less than a hundred dollars a month?

    • Ken says:

      They have done it before and can do it again. Its home. There is no where like home. Only those who go abroad can help out in times of crises??? The people who may have to leave the BVI send home so much money, they have loads of help at home – don’t mind the noise?

  33. Tell Me says:

    Now tell me what did Hon. Vincent said that was so wrong. You immigrants forgot from whence you came and why you did so. You came to work. Now there is no work, so leave or else you will be forced to do so. Some invested their monies wisely and others squandered. Now you have to leave and it’s a problem. The BVI owes you NOTHING. Hon you need to let it be the responsibility of each leader to get their people home. We have done enough already.

    First of all, some of you have no respect for the leaders nor the natives of this Country. You are the ones that needed to be kicked out long time ago. You fly your own flags and if the Bvi flag is flown, you want to fly yours higher than ours. We dare not go in another man’s country and do that.

    Second, some of you got granted with status, those need to be revoked. During such a crisis status shouldn’t count or be given.

    Finally, those who have ears let them hear and those who have eyes let them see. Fot those who are waiting for October to come thinking that the Hotels will be Opened, you better think again and read between the script. We are in for the long haul because troubling times are ahead. Its gonna get worst before it get better.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
    • awake yet says:

      to who ever thumbed down, the cruise ships are not coming back until mid 2021. Research, 2 stories published about it yesterday. . . BVI is in for a depression like few, except the really old people, have ever seen. Oh yeah on top of it we are having a drought, but plant anyway because that may be all you get to eat. Fish gone, coconuts gone, sugar apples gone, not sure when I saw a gennip tree last, soft living in the BVI is almost over.

  34. ReX FeRaL says:

    Immigration needs an experienced manager. This minister is a two tongue talking c***n.

  35. Gwen says:

    In the next coming months the world will experience such a catastrophic pandemic like never before.if you think times are bad now, you better start building your ark. I live in the USA, and I wish I had some where I could go to that is coronavirus free.
    If the president is not adhering to the guidelines and in his childlike thinking that this to will pass what do you think will be the end results?
    May God help us ALL.
    The worst is yet to come.Dont become complacent with ignorance.
    I liken this to the days of Noah.

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