BVI News

Limited tourism could resume in September — Immigration Minister

With COVID-19 bringing tourism in the British Virgin Islands to a halt since March, the arrival of visitors into the territory could resume in a little more than a month.

This is according to Minister of Immigration Vincent Wheatley who told BVI News in a brief statement that this is part of government’s next phase of its border-reopening initiative.

He said: “Limited tourism could start as early as September.”

Wheatley said the controlled and phased re-entry of individuals into the BVI will first be shifting to the next category of persons — work permit holders.

The minister said that these persons will have to follow strict COVID-19 protocols when entering the territory, which will include mandatory quarantining for a period of 14 days.

He said: “The procedure for inbound persons is pretty much the same. However, Labour & Immigration are now heavily involved. Basically, they (the departments) just have to verify that persons are returning to legitimate jobs.”

He did not specify a date when work permit holders abroad will be permitted to re-enter.

Outbound travelling still allowed

Meanwhile, Minister Wheatley said persons wishing to depart from the BVI will be able to do so, as travelling out of the territory continues to be allowed.

In a July 16 media announcement, Wheatley said the government was going to assist unemployed expats who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 to return to their home countries.

Since that announcement, the minister said the Immigration Department has been receiving a high volume of requests from expats interested in accepting the offer.

Some of the requests have been made for countries such as Barbados, St Vincent, Grenada, Jamaica and Guyana.


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  1. Nope says:

    Bad idea

    Like 14
    Dislike 9
    • Really says:

      Work permit holders are not tourists. Perhaps the government should purchase a dictionary. A tourist is one who travels for pleasure . What dummies you people are. Allowing work permit holders in does nothing to bolster the tourism sector.

      Like 39
      Dislike 5
      • Expat says:

        How do you think the tourism industry would gear up without the work permit holders?

        Like 18
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        • Ship them out says:

          We need to ship out all the island people so that jobs in tourism free up for belongers who are going to lose their Government jobs when the Government goes bankrupt. Lots of belongers in the private sector are looking forward to seeing former government employees having to do a full days work.

          Like 6
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          • Yes yes says:

            They will definately need people to clean boats and wash decks. So yes i agree send home expat and give the locals those jobs 😀

            Like 11
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          • to ship them out says:

            So if the Government get’s back on it’s feet after the bankruptcy would the laid off government workers get back their posts. And when that happens who would you put in the tourism jobs.

            Like 3
            Dislike 1
          • Huh! says:

            Many of the Govt ‘positions’ are not real jobs but are positions created in the days when the cash rolled in from Financial Services to accommodate Belongers that were unemployable in the private sector or just too lazy. Those of us that have toiled in the private sector whilst watching others develop superior attitudes sitting in Govt offices doing nothing but surfing the internet will enjoy watching them clean boats – at least for a couple of hours before they quit or are fired. Maybe a bit of shelf stacking at Bobbies when all the Filipinos leave will knock the superiority out of them!

            Like 10
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          • Facts says:

            You sound so ignorant…..I dont know why you guys have this hatred for other Caribbean people……this is a Caribbean island after all…..the only difference is the currency…..its as simple as 1 2 3 bvi nationals like to dress up and do big up jobs not minimum wage jobs…..mehson

      • What says:

        @Really Feel like I am misunderstanding what you are saying or one of us read the article incorrectly. The article and or the Minister is speaking of two separate groups of people, tourist and workers. The article isn’t saying workers are tourist.

        Like 5
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      • Pam Brown! says:

        Exactly. I have been waiting for something concrete before moving our charter boat to the USVIs. Looks like I have it

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    • Rubber Duck says:

      And where will these tourists be coming from. ? Antigua is open. There are not a lot of tourists. Next to none in reality.
      And then it’s hurricane season. The tourist industry can write off 2020-21 and possibly 21-22 imho.

      Like 1
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  2. Lol says:

    Immigration Minister talking about tourism? Shouldn’t it be the Director of Tourism or the Minister of Tourism?

    Like 23
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  3. Secret Bear says:

    Work permit holders are already quietly being admitted.

    Like 22
    • Rude awakening says:

      The British Virgin Islands is in for a rude awkening. The world economy is falling , eroupe, america name it they are on their knees and yet the BVI leaders head are in the clouds, but i dont blame you guys black people dont always know how to be creative and unique unless their white Jesus is in envlove. You keep lying to us if they are no corna virus in the BVI why import so many cuban doctors ; who would waste resources and energy if they where no cases more than what have been mentioned. PS tourism sectors all over the world is reunied its not coming back we are in years of famiene. Create another industry maybe a factory that create made in the bvi things that can be sold aboard.

      Like 1
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  4. Huh! says:

    Every expat’s employer had to provide a bond as part of the work permit process – to be used to send the expat home if the expat could not afford to pay for the trip. The bond is either cash deposited with the immigration Dept or a written guarantee provided by the employer. The Govt should be calling on those bonds before paying to send expats home – even if the bond was given by a connected belonger.

    Like 31
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    • true says:

      yes but they also give you a trade license that allows you to earn money and run a business for 12 months a year, that did not happen.

      Like 4
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      • 2cents says:

        yes and I have had a trade license that has been useless for the period of time of the lockdown. Will we see an extension to TL for no fee?

        Like 10
        Dislike 3
  5. Styler says:

    Hon Minister we do not have any rights to be paying persons passages back to their homeland they are supposed to be here on a return ticket. What happened to that system? we can not even go the St Thomas with out a return ticket you need to cut that foolishness out they do not have used for the BVI or it citizens.

    Like 13
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    • No dummie says:

      Open return tickets don’t exist anymore.

      You think you can indefinitely extend a return trip? Or do you have to keep buying new ones over and over and over and over and over?

      Add that to the 7% bully tax.

      Like 17
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  6. John says:

    With the country shut down what jobs are these people returning too?

    Like 19
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    • Foolish comment says:

      And this is why the BVI is so backwards. When do you expect work permit holders to be allowed back in? Same time as tourists? You expect businesses to open with a click of a finger without any planning and with a portion of employees stuck out of the country? Engage your brain before you type.

      Like 28
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  7. ReX FeRaL says:

    Vincent please. Just engage brains in before speaking.

    Like 17
  8. How? says:

    How can tourism return in any form in September? We are more or less in August and yet work permit holders haven’t started to return yet. They are also required to do the 14 day quarantine and also, how many flights are available to get to the BVI from certain places? This means many persons will take weeks if not months to find a ticket to get here. Then September, how will any form of tourist arrive when you have 14 day quarantine measures? Please provide us with a PLAN that shows how you plan to reopen while keeping people safe. All we are getting is small talk and a curfew that has no reasoning but continues.

    Like 42
    • 2cents says:

      That’s the plan. They will give last minute information so they can say it’s open but no one will come. I have guests asking if their November trip is possible. This is a pretty crappy way to run a tourist destination.

      Like 11
  9. GodBless says:

    So does that means the hotel industry will open back also?
    Like scrubisland?

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  10. AMEN says:

    At least there is some movement in the right direction! Amen, do a soft, limited reopening for certain industries which social distancing is proven, ie. charters

    Like 7
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  11. SO says:

    September when most if not all Hospitality type businesses close during the Hurricane season? Please pick another month like possibly October or November.

    Like 16
    • 2cents says:

      If they don’t announce soon people that moved bookings to the fall will go elsewhere. People need some advance notice. They just don’t wake up one morning and decide to go to the BVI. Govt will lose all tourism if they are not careful. Bankruptcy is not far off for many of these businesses.

  12. wow says:

    I want to know why the minister don’t tell the people the truth. Their rich white friends have been bringing in their friends to their islands all through out the curfew.

    Like 14
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  13. HAHAHA says:

    This country is so f@#$t! It’s actually fun to watch how it falls apart piece by piece. That’s just what happens if karma kicks in……

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  14. Dave Miller says:

    I have a sailboat in Charter in BVI. It would be great to establish a procedure for owners and tourist to get into BVI soon. Initially, a restricted procedure I am ok with…14 day quarantine & COVID-19 testing. If this doesn’t happen soon, another season for revenue generation will substantially suffer.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  15. Local Local says:

    So your opening border to Visitors and there is soo many Visitors still here in the BVI!! What’s the hold up? BVI Acting like they full of money and they are not looking out for the very local local here! America and other Caribbean island ask and allow and deport expats and children not from their region.. Why the BVI trying burden down the place!!

    Like 3
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  16. Expat says:

    A step in the right direction! Why cannot work permit holders come in with negative Covid tests and be retested once or twice in a time delay once back,would cost much less out of pocket expense than putting them in quarantine in an already strapped industry.

    Like 14
    • but you see says:

      The friends of the government are getting rich from the mandatory quarantine facilities.

      Who needs a good reason other than money?

      Like 14
  17. Really? says:

    Just exactly what is Mr. Wheatley’s definition of tourism? Google it. Doesn’t have anything to do with work. Basic definition is people traveling to have fun. Not much fun to travel and be put in quarantine for 14 days and then go to work. So they’re going to allow people into the BVI for a regatta in October? Will those people coming in to sail have to be quarantined?

    Like 18
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  18. hey says:

    do not bring in workers until we have tourist going through the place $$$ weened the $$$ to pay the permits holders else they gonna be a real burden to the system

    Like 2
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    • Thoughtful Sailor says:

      But it’s the work permit holders that perform many of the functions required by the Tourist Industry!

      • Secret Bear says:

        No one is coming back here to be a “burden on the system.” They are coming back here because they already have jobs and they want to get to work.

  19. What? says:

    This article does not clarify anything!

  20. Belonger/Non-belonger says:

    Belongers that hire workers do no post a cash bond (there is no money in the bank to go to). If you are a non-belonger with a trade licence you have to give the Accountant General a check for $1,000. The belongers are hiring down island people for $6/hour ($50 a day)…these are the people that need help flying home. So the government is paying for the belongers to fly home their workers. I have no problem with this. 2/3 of this country are non-belongers. The belongers make the rules. This is just how stuff works here. If you don’t like it take the free flight home.

  21. Villa rentals says:

    Why are we not thinking outside the box?? Tourism has changed after Covid-19. People outside the BVI can now work from home. Let villa owners do long term rentals to these people. We have 1 case…if you live in the USA you would pay big bucks to take your family someplace that is safe Right Now. Villa owners would pay for security ($6K for the 14 days) if they could make long term rent. This is what Oil Nut Bay is advertising right now on their web site (‘come to the ONB Refuge’). The old tourism with cruise ships and weekly boat charters is DEAD for at least the next year. MOVE FORWARD, not backwards please!

  22. 2cents says:

    If they don’t decide soon they will lose the winter season too.

  23. Seriously? says:

    What “tourism” does the minister think is going to start with a 14 day quarantine?!?
    That’s the definition of “non-starter”.
    Really, really well thought out.

  24. Laszlo says:

    I am from Europe and we love to visit the BVIs every year with my family (even 2-3 times some years). In most European countries – after the reopening recently – the governments require from the tourists 2 negative COVID tests with 5 days before travel (48 hours apart at least). The tests have to be negative and in English. This way e.g. all US or European tourists can travel to most EU countries without posing a risk (or at least very minimal close to 0) to the target country for travel.

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