BVI News

Large expat workforce needed for unemployment insurance scheme

The latest United Nations Human & Economic Assessment of Impact (HEAT) Report on the British Virgin Islands has recommended that the territory implement an unemployment insurance programme, but warns that its success will be dependent on a large expat workforce being maintained.

The report was launched during the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the BVI and the United Nations Development Programme on Monday, November 2.

The report, which is designed to support the government’s relief and recovery efforts post COVID-19, said the implementation of an unemployment insurance scheme would assist to prevent a number of families, including expats, from falling into temporary poverty.

“The main complexity faced in the implementation of such a fund would be the existence of a large migrant workforce. Given that there is a short period during which migrants on work permits are allowed to search for a new job, it seems reasonable to allow workers who have contributed to the scheme to access unemployment benefits while they search for a new job,” the report stated.

It continued: “At the individual level, this prevents migrant workers from falling into poverty in a country where they may have no informal safety net. This is particularly important given the relatively high incidence of child poverty for Caribbean migrants in the Virgin Islands. At the aggregate level, this retains both labour supply and domestic demand even during downturns.”

Migrant children to be impacted more by the pandemic

Providing statistical data from previous studies, the HEAT report revealed that child poverty rates in the territory will increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the households of expats at approximately a third higher than locals.

“Data from 2003 suggests that the child poverty rate in the Virgin Islands was around 29 percent, translating to a total of 1,773 children living in poverty. The impact of COVID-19 may contribute to increasing this rate and number,” the report stated.

“Given that migrants constitute around 63 percent of the tourism labour force, children in migrant households will bear a significant portion of the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. One qualitative concern is that non-national households may have access to significantly diminished family-based safety nets compared to nationals,” it explained.

Increase in Social Security contributions to fund programme

To get the programme functioning, the report said that an increase of social security contributions will be necessary, coupled with a financial contribution from the government.”

“Assuming a requirement to cover each individual up to at least 60 percent of the average monthly income at the baseline rate of unemployment, the cost of the fund would be approximately USD$ 758,000 per month. While the initial capitalisation will require an injection by the government, ongoing replenishment would be funded by a small increase in social security contributions,” the report stated.

The insurance programme is expected to limit the expenditure of the government when experiencing large negative economic shocks suffered from pandemics or natural disasters.

It will allow for a much faster automatic response to the respective crisis.

Back in September, Social Security Minister Vincent Wheatley announced that the government has plans to implement an Unemployment Insurance scheme next year.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The VIP government is really inept. Aren’t they the same ones who were telling expats to go home? Aren’t they the same ones who locked out work permit exempt persons and work permit holders? Aren’t they the ones who sent back residents on flights when they landed at Beef Island? Aren’t they the same ones who said the work force should 70% local and 30% expat without understanding how the economy works?
    And now they want to do unemployment insurance and suddenly realize that they need human bodies to make it work.
    Can they be anymore incompetent?

    Like 81
    Dislike 5
    • @Anon says:

      WORST GOVERNMENT IN HISTORY and not just for the BVI, I would say the ENTIRE REGION!

      Like 28
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    • Tola says:

      So its the United Nations are the ones who recommended it and not the Government…. and they up and down big time saying how they will have unemployment benefits for people from next year. …not knowing that they were actually forced into doing such…..well…well…that’s what it is folks unemployment insurance is to pay unemployed persons…

  2. UN says:

    This government should be held accountable at international level and its government imprisoned for the abhorrent treatment of anyone but a belonger, it’s racist, corrupt and uneducated and breaches every international convention on human rights, never mind the drug deal Ming business that is infested in this jurisdiction. And to those who will comment and say people should leave, please hand back your UK passports

    Like 56
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    • VI says:

      Prioritizing the welfare of locals & controlling immigration based on labor is in every country’s best interest.

      This place is too small to allow everyone to come in freely an displace & disadvantage the local population in their own home.

      You are racist & uneducated to take offense to these measures.

      Consider going to your own home where your government should be looking out for your people instead of blogging what people want to hear despite however incorrect it would be for a small island nation to accommodate the whole world before their belongers which includes people of all races!

      ” please hand back your UK passports ” When we stop being subjects of the UK come again with that. It is natural for those in authority to confer benefits on those whom they claim responsibility for.

      Belgoner is not a race. People of all races are belongers. You do your own a disservice by disparaging benefits for belongers.

      Look at the trade tariffs, travel restrictions, immigration policies of countries around the world. Consider some places you cant even visit, not to mention work in.

    • You says:

      You forgot lots of them have a US passport too.

  3. Reality Check says:

    The only way this will work is if there are enforced fines for employers which don’t make the contributions. Many employers are in arrears at Social Security and NHI and they must be made to make the payments or the present system will fail and the proposed additional system will never get off the ground.

    Like 39
    • MJ says:

      You are correct. Belongers and their businesses owe a fortune in arrears, both to Soc Sec and NHI. Many even refuse to pay. It is theft and fraud as the deductions are made against wages paid but retained , stolen by them. If only the police would investigate and charge those in default.

      The only way is to enforce it and as shown recently there is little political will to do that.

      Like 30
  4. Lol says:

    Its amazing who wud of thought dat the same bvi dat was so bz to get rid of expat. Wud be needing expats to sustain dem self i love dis now u will be begging for dem to cum back dis country only now start to go down based on wheatleys rash decision expats shud refuse to cum back here. Let the same local dat contribute to other islands instead of day own bvi sustain here for u lol just gat to lol

    Like 5
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  5. Who last laugh says:

    For all those who maintains the same ignorance as that as Vincent Wheatley and remains undereducated to the value of having expatriates being a part of the local economy are mere fools. While you continue to be blinded by their significance, such as the skills they bring, the taxes they pay, the jobs they fill and their impact on the demographics of ageing populations, you are yet to understand the hard way. Be careful what you wish for because you may very well be scard by the gift.

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  6. ayo says:

    This territories entire scheme and being, depends on the expat workers.

    Like 14
  7. HAHAHAHA says:

    The irony!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 15
  8. What? says:

    So they have this information, yet the Minister for SS is on a talk show saying unemployment assistance is coming but at no extra cost? Man you really cannot make this s**t up!

    Like 12
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  9. son of the soil says:

    Please only allow the smarter educated ones to come in

    Like 5
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  10. Lilly says:

    Who prepared the report?

    • Sense says:

      It doesn’t matter who prepared the report. Anything that requires large contributions must involve expats because there are only so much locals in the BVI, how is that lost on someone with basic common sense?

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
  11. Doh says:

    lol lmfao….

    Wait, expats aren’t welcome remember? Smfh….

    These guys are truly idiots.




    Like 6
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  12. Expats.. Learn says:

    Time to start saving and building in your home country and always be ready to back home…. Living in foreign offer no guarantee, no security, they can take u up when they want and ship you out..Wise up. Those who don’t have nothing in their home country time to start..

  13. Anonymous says:

    Look what the government of the British virgin islands sit back and made Vincent do

    Like 1
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  14. island man says:

    Tell them think of a different plan. this one wont work.

    we not carrying more burden.

    d donkey back tired.

    Go go we going home down island!

  15. Oh says:

    Well look at that. Smh

  16. Wow. says:

    Data from 2003??? That’s 17 years ago? Do we not have more current data than that???

  17. well sah says:

    This old data these fools rejoicing about. It give you all a good feeling to curse the VI and it’s people so much that you would not read and understand before you make your nasty comments.

  18. Do not make sense says:

    The smaller the population the less expenditure for the Government in times of crisis. Therefore, the larger the expat population it is more expense for the Government in times of crises.

  19. Scheme says:

    Yep, that is a good word for it. Just like the NHI it will be something that will mess up the whole system by adding a 3rd party to the process. NHI has driven up pricing by a multiple in the health field (funny how the guy in office that set it up was a doctor???).
    We the people end up paying for that. Our service has not improved. With all that money entering the system we should have new hospitals and more doctors, but that did not happen (that is why we have lockdowns for Covid).
    I you need workers and don’t have them, pay them a decent wage and stop taxing everything (this ‘insurance’ is just another tax).

  20. Educate me says:

    Why is a large expat workforce needed?

    Is it that there are not enough BVIslanders to pay into the scheme? When they mean large how large of a workforce are we talking about?

    Do we have enough accomodations for this large workforce? Food security? Doctors?

    It will be a plus (I am not that kind of belonger with a closed mind) but with a larger population we must prepare. Let me know if I should start building more apartments :).

    Just concerned though that BVI couldnt hold a good Buju Concert and was scrambling to find accomodations for people….

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