BVI News

Labour expected to roll back Good Standing Certificate requirements

After months of complaints about the inefficient nature of his government’s policy, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has announced that he will roll back the burdensome Good Standing Certificate requirements implemented for work permit applicants.

Through the policy, employees are required to secure good standing certificates from the National Health Insurance (NHI), Social Security and Inland Revenue departments.

“In hindsight, I’m studying the problem right now, the extent of the problem, the extent of the consequences of that policy and I think what we’re going to do is to roll it back a bit. Roll it back, give businesses a little chance to catch up and we’re going to bring back a new system, a more efficient system of dealing with this,” Wheatley said while appearing on the Honestly Speaking radio show yesterday.

The policy, which was previously relaxed after experiencing challenges, was never removed.

In the meantime, Minister Wheatley declined to offer any sort of timeline for when the rollback is expected to begin, saying that he was hopeful that it would be done sooner rather than later.

Problem made worse by bad business practices

According to the Minister, one of the issues that exacerbated the problem was that many businesses are removing taxes from employees but not paying them into the relevant departments.

“I don’t think at that time we had really considered how bad the challenge was for businesses,” Wheatley said.

He further noted that some persons, in his estimation, “do very bad business, to put it bluntly”.

“You cannot run a business losing money and by taking out employees’ NHI and Social Security and not paying it in so your business could float. That is bad business in my opinion,” Minister Wheatley said.

“Your business is supposed to take care of all its overheads, [pay] the staff and still make a profit,” Wheatley explained. “That is good business. You don’t run a good business by not paying your employees’ NHI.”

He added: “That is criminal, and we’re going for these businesses. We try not to make the employees pay for business owners running bad businesses.”

Work permit holders easier to police than businesses

Despite conceding that in hindsight, there was never a right time to have the policy, the Minister said he had to start somewhere in addressing some of the deficiencies within the system.

“What we did unintentionally was, we created a lot of illegal workers,” he explained.

He said while the issue of businesses having to present good standing certificates was not a new one, it was never previously required for persons who needed work permit renewals.

“Every business should be paying their NHI and Social Security all the time – but you can’t really police that so easily right now, until we get online,” the Minister said. “The easiest ones to police were the work permit holders.”

He said despite giving the various government departments one year’s notice of the planned implementation of the policy, they still weren’t quite ready.

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  1. heckler says:

    This government just don’t know what its doing…One hiccup after another

    Like 32
    Dislike 1
  2. eye doctor says:

    and the virgin gorda lobster has backed up again ….LOL

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
  3. Strange says:

    Disgraceful minister. A blatant disrespect to the hard working expats. Happy that he saw the ineffectiveness and inefficiencies of his foolish policy.

    Like 32
    Dislike 1
  4. Concerned says:

    Sir, I went to the social security department once, to check up on my social security payments, to see if they were up to date the lady who dealt with me at one point told me to hold on after we had a
    Brief conversation,to my great surprise she called my boss and told him I went there to find out if he’s playing my social security payments. On the job the next day the boss get on stink with me in the presence of all the other workers but i didn’t care,it was within my rights to with all that been said your own government workers are also at fault for all these problems.

    I thank you….

    Like 59
    • @ Concerned says:

      You should have reported her to her boss, Social Security Director
      And to the Minister responsible for social security, but again I have seen employees do worse and next thing they get promotion instead, example IDPS what the teacher did to the child couple years ago and NOTHING was done. TO GOD BE THE GLORY

    • Susan says:

      Government workers is the most inexperience and disrespectful workers I have ever come across, it has a big fat one that girl is a hog working at Water and sewerage. She doesn’t have no manners customer service, I went to query my bill four time and all the I get when she finally speaks to me is you used the water pay the bill, thanks God I met the director outside and I spoke to her, she is who help me sorted that problem, the girl didn’t want to listen don’t matter I tell her she just didn’t want to hear and the sad part is that I moved in the apartment and met the bill and she still telling me to have to pay the bill because I used the water. This was crazy and I wasn’t paying what I didn’t used for sure that department need to clean up their billing system is nonsense you paying the same bill over and over, they need a billing system like electricity

      Like 19
    • @Concern says:

      It is your right to check up on the Social Security payment. Some employers don’t make the payments although they say it is taken from your pay check. Your boss should be shame of him or herself if the payment was not made instead of trying to embarass you. Some of them don’t got no shame.

      Like 10
    • Fed Up says:

      Well thank God she ain’t told you to pay. Cause some big business people and politicians ain’t paying anything for their employees and Government employees making the employees pay.

      Inland Revenue that HOT MESS! No Certificates but taking people money for good standing. I’m just Fed Up with all this bs.

  5. Bad business says:

    It’s not bad business – its people struggling to stay afloat and keep staff employed when the BVI Government is shutting out tourists to pay the bills. If life is not better by end of Dec you will see a whole heap of tourist business saying goodbye. DO NOT SCREW THIS SEASON FOR US! OPEN UP WITHOUT THE BS!

    Like 14
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    • @BadBusiness says:

      EXACTLY!! These know nothing fools don’t realize that businesses have been drowning for the past 4 years, since Irma and some even before. Nobody has been able to catch a break. The banks don’t care, insurance doesn’t care, supermarkets doesn’t care, landlords cared for 3 months last year and now don’t care, it’s just a bad state and governmennt has done NOTHING to help businesses.

      Like 10
  6. Hmmmm says:

    “You cannot run a business losing money and by taking out employees’ NHI and Social Security and not paying it in so your business could float. That is bad business in my opinion,” Minister Wheatley said.

    “Your business is supposed to take care of all its overheads, [pay] the staff and still make a profit,” Wheatley explained. “That is good business. You don’t run a good business by not paying your employees’ NHI.”

    I do NOT condone a business deducting monies from staff and not paying it into the respective agencies however, those comments says ALL about how this Government functions! These people are paid monthly so they have no idea what happens in the real business world. The portal is a F**K, they shut down completely, no real plan for the economy while businesses have been suffering for 18 months. Here he is talking about making profit when some businesses are praying to break even or make a small loss to keep pushing. These guys are clueless and need to be sent packing right now.

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
    • local business says:

      Quite agree. Government lurches from one unworkable policy to the next, based on “sound-bite” popularity. None of this lot seem to have any idea how to run a business, or even that it is us who pays for Government salaries, SUVs, pensions, consultants etc.

  7. Jane says:

    In most countries, employers are required to produce an annual statement of tax paid by the employee. In the UK, this is called a P60 form. In addition, at any time an employee can contact the UK tax authority HM Revenue & Customs for a current statement of earnings. There is no charge to the employee to get these forms.

    I suggest that the Minister looks to introduce legislation to provide for something similar here. It is a scandal that some employees are working for years, without their employer paying over their deductions. It is the employers here that are at fault. As much as it is good sport to harass the work permit holder what is actually happening here is widespread tax avoidance by employers. That is a criminal matter and prosecutions should follow. Has the DPP been given any information on the worst offenders so that charges can be pressed? No, of course not! There is no political will to punish business owners as they tend to be BVIslanders (i.e. voters). Better to continue the pantomime about the evil ex-pat and how they are thieving from the country. Carry on!

    Like 23
  8. YOU says:

    HONEY that’s the best of those people in that place they Loved to carry NEWS.
    BUT they don’t know people know what they are doing in the office when I check tell them to call my Boss.

  9. WEW says:

    Exposing to many employers that are pocketing the employees SSB and NIH payments.

    Like 11
    • @WEW says:

      Is the Government paid up with NHI? Ask yourself that and why a list would never be published.

      • @@WEW says:

        The government don’t always be up to date but we don’t hear them getting fined…set of nasty people in the government….. deducting your money for things you applied for then the companies calling you telling you that you behind on your payments, you know your money is being deducted every pay period…. GOVERNEMENT AINT NO BETTER THAN THE OTHER BUSINESSES!!!!!!!

  10. Maybe.... says:

    Maybe it should be a requirement for the renewal of a trade license. If a business cannot produce a certificate of good standing from NHI, SS and IR they do not get their trade license renewed….

    Like 21
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    • Lubella says:

      LOL. People forget soooo quickly. This was tried when the NDP was elected the second time 2011 and there were no disasters of the magnitude that we are witnessing today. Well, the uproar from the business owners then was so deafening the NDP Government peddled back on that so fast it is not even remembered that the policy was suggested.

      This is not new and all governments knew that there was delinquencies. What they didn’t know was how much and for how long. Every single department in government has the same data harvesting issue.

      The problem starts with the issuance of the Trade License. Where there is the understanding of encouraging and empowering our BV Islanders to become entrepreneurs that appears to be where it starts and ends. Once that Trade License is given out its done. Very little education and follow-up is given about the governmental and LEGAL responsibilities of owning a business in the BVI. Some Trade License owners are unaware that every Trade License owned has to be paid annually and unless you have written to the Trade Department and request a suspension those payments are due whether the business is active or not. It is not done on purpose some people just don’t know. Don’t even talk about the fact that every Trade License should rightly be registered with Inland Revenue, NHI and Social Security on the day received.
      Yes, the ugly truth is we have been doing very bad business for a very long time. What’s going to happen when the UK running things?

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
  11. just the start says:

    wait till you have to carry in your divorce papers to labor after exemption.. now self yuh business in the road. things that should be private in court in public eyes now.. smh they will know who horn who lol

  12. it backfire says:

    it backfire.. wheatley never knew so many of his friends where running racket by not paying employees taxes. too many of his pals businesses start showing up in the RED

    Like 11
  13. Jokers says:

    It is important for employers to be paid up to date. There is no need for Labour to roll back the requirement. What Government needs to do is find an effective way for the relevant departments to share information. It is one Government.

    Whatever one does in the US, he/she must give their social security number, which is tied to everything. Find effective and efficient ways to do things.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  14. Humm says:

    He says it’s hard to police business that are not paying? I got an idea when they put in their request for trade licenses make the good standing from those places (NHI ect. ) a requirement before their trade license could be approved if they have money outstanding don’t renew the license. Watch how fast they find the money to pay.

    Like 10
  15. Caw blind ya says:

    Put all these Government Ministers Head on a lizard body and they run straight into a cat mouth. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing or how to run a country. Shame

  16. Jame says:

    now they believe the last cocacola in the desert,

  17. Nonsense says:

    Nonsense is this the businesses have to get one that is to prove that they paid already for their employees. Now tell me please why does the employees have to get one too. Why do they need one just to show that the businesses they working for is up to date. Total nonsense.

    • Cheese and bread! says:

      Because the systems are so outdated and dumb that who the employer says he is paying for might not be all he should be paying for and who the employee say they working for and should be paying for them might not be so either. This is the only way to cross check until they get a system in place where all the concerned departments can talk to each other because right now they don’t. That is way so much illegal madness is going on in the country and so difficult to enforce.

  18. Mind boggling says:

    The real issue is the “ doubling up “ ! Why do both parties have to provide certificates from all 3 departments ? If the employees renewing their work permits obtain certs then obviously the employer is current. Presently , I’m waiting 5 months from Inland Revenue to me with a good standing certificate .. ! In Labour now they finally realized inland revenue could not meet the demands and are accepting the receipt !!! So what’s the point of that I ask you. I’m told The back log especially with Covid has created a monstrous stock pile of work for understaffed departments. When Policies are made and inadvertently create more paperwork then staff forces must increase accordingly ! I don’t hold the Departmenf wrong ! However it does seem obvious to me that it’s really a money racket and has put further strain on people both psychologically and financially . Imagine every work application costing $ 200 in cert fees plus $250 for extensions !! Plus the work permit fees $500 minimum. Best we be told “ Boss. Go home !” Save your pennies and your mental health elsewhere !!

  19. Windy says:

    The government does not know whether an employer is is good standing ? Force the work permit applicant to research this. Another way to discriminate against the expat.

  20. Reality says:

    There are two components to all these payments, the employers and the employees . The employee has earned their part and the employer has deducted it from the employees wages. There is no excuse for that part not being paid in . If it is used by the business for business expenses I believe that is stealing .
    In hard times for a business, the business may find it difficult to pay it’s part of the contribution. That portion could be discussed by the business owner with the government departments responsible for collecting it and a suitable plan made for deferred payments when the economic situation of the company improves.
    It would mean a change to the forms and a bit more record keeping by the departments and obviously if the business continues to not be able to pay then an audit of the company should be done to find out if it is just willfulness on the part of the owner , bad management or plain greed . The government then decides whether to allow the business to renew its trade license or puts it out of business.
    Of course we all know of the “” slave “ labor companies who just have the “big name “ owners who have a bunch of employees but no work and turn the workers loose to work where they can and just pay their “ owner “ a 10 or 15 dollars a day commission for holding their permits
    The whole of labor is a political nightmare and the expat workers don’t vote so solving it is not easy . I think only the COI has the ability .

  21. Wowser says:

    To this day I cannot fathom how BVI does not have a proper system in place to curb the ineptitudes of basic elements that are required for due processing of these WP applications/renewals et al.

    If you do not have the resources locally, then have it outsourced so that all the 3 key players (Soc Sec, NHI and Inland Revenue) are easily accessible on a need to know basis. Labour department should be able to run periodic reports and/monitor those that are persistently in breach. Remember it is the employers’ responsibility to remit the employees contributions and within the prescribed time. It will also eliminate the knee jerking of people scurrying around for something that should be readily at your disposal.

    Secondly, both employers and employees should be able to access (with proper login credentials) the respective portals and view/print the reports…. for free. In that way if there is an issue or query, one can address with the relevant source, i.e. employer or agency (NHI, SS, IRD).

    Similarly, Trade department should also be able to view a new applicant or existing client report. This would garner efficiency and likely force those that are delinquent to pay up their outstanding dues should they want to renew their licenses or take out a new application. What if we took it a bit further and say that any company under your ownership, would be flagged also as non-compliant irrespective of its status. One may say wow that’s unfair but the reality is, if one apple is rotten the chance of others becoming rotten is relatively accurate unless you remove the spoilage. So you get my point! Fix it before it spreads or we will be forced to amputate.

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