BVI News

New immigration bill gets first reading in HOA

The new Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Bill, which aims to tackle longstanding issues such as the length of time required for residency and Belonger status eligibility, recently had its first reading in the House of Assembly.

The bill establishes clearer guidelines and criteria for granting these statuses and directly responds to Recommendation B33 of the Commission of Inquiry (COI). The COI highlighted the need for transparent and published residency and Belonger status application guidance. It also seeks to address concerns regarding the length of time required to qualify for these statuses and establish a structured appeals process.

Additionally, the proposed legislation outlines the responsibilities of various entities in collecting and analysing data on population demographics, labour market conditions, and housing availability. This data-driven approach will help inform decisions about residency quotas and ensure the territory can sustainably accommodate new residents.

The bill’s introduction follows extensive consultations and discussions, reflecting the government’s commitment to transparency and inclusivity in shaping immigration policies. It aims to strike a balance between attracting skilled individuals who can contribute to the territory’s development and protecting the interests of Belongers.

The new immigration bill generated considerable public interest and debate. Some residents welcome the proposed changes, believing they will streamline the immigration process and provide greater clarity. Others have expressed concerns about the potential impact on the job market and housing availability.

The government has encouraged residents to read both the Immigration and Passport Act and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act to understand the proposed changes fully. 

Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Bill, 2024


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  1. Question says:

    “The government has encouraged residents to read both the Immigration and Passport Act and the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act to understand the proposed changes fully.” Are these documents easily available for people interested?

  2. BigThink says:

    Residency and Belongership has been notoriously longstanding issues for the BVI. I applaud the efforts of the Government to set a transparent path towards that end. However, the issue of using “housing availability” data to guide the decision on residency underscores a certain kind of misalignment and points to the disingenuos nature of the policy. Those people who are becoming eligible by virtue of “length of stay”, are they not already living somewhere here already? Most of these partments owned and run by BVIslanders are sustained due only to the very presence of foreigners here.

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