BVI News

Who is the BVI developing for with all these work permits?

Vincent Wheatley

As work permits continue to be handed out in the territory, Immigration and Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley, has questioned who will be the ultimate beneficiary of the process.

“If we are developing and developing full speed, and all development is done by work permits, who are we really developing this country for?” Minister Wheatley asked recently.

The minister further said locals must be given an opportunity to participate at all levels of development in the community.

He then hailed the government’s Labour-Education Connect initiative as a means to resolving the territory’s labour-related issues.

“Our ambition has always been to localise the workforce as best as we can,” minister Wheatley stated.

He added that any existing skill gaps will be identified and addressed.

“We live in an age where all our problems will not be solved by money,” the minister argued, “some of these problems will be solved by creativity.”

He further called for out-of-the-box thinking, ingenuity and creativity to help resolve some of the labor issues facing the territory.

Immigration issues

The minister conceded that the BVI will continue to face immigration challenges because it is an attractive place to live and work. But, the first term legislator said the territory is also a country of laws and expressed that he will not condone illegal immigrants.

The minister said immigration reform will continue to happen and noted that there is funding allocated to execute the process.

Copyright 2022 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Doh says:


    An immigration officer who questions the value of a foreign worker? ID10T still doesn’t comprehend that the BVI DOES NOT HAVE THE SKILLED LABOR TO PERFORM ALL POSITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT.

    Is this guy incompetent, ignorant, racist? His belonger anti-foreigner mentality is clearly showing. How sad, but I guess we chalk it up to BVI love.

    Like 81
    Dislike 6
    • Doctors & Plumbers says:

      A number of years ago three older gentlemen from Virgin Gorda were sitting at the Village Cay bar one day when I was there, complaining about how local young people don’t want to train for professions such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, or stone masons – good paying jobs all. They want to dress flash and sit in the A/C at a government job.

      I laughed and asked them if they’d heard about the Doctor and the Plumber… They said no.
      I told them about how the Doctor got home just as the Plumber was finishing up and the Plumber handed the guy his bill.
      The Doctor’s eyes popped wide and he exclaimed, “I’m a surgeon and I don’t make that much!”
      The Plumber replied, “Yeah, I didn’t make that much when I was a doctor either.”

      The older gents from VG roarer in laughter and were slapping the bar top, crying, “That’s the truth! That’s the truth!”

      Like 13
    • Its on says:

      He is being a nationalist hog…not uncommon…ignore,

  2. what the actual f@ck says:

    Are you serious? Are you asking why we have an economy as a country? Why businesses should be able to operate without the interference of Government? Can we stop this nonsense and can you simply approve the pending work permits without using each and every opportunity for your political banter?

    Like 54
    Dislike 4
  3. Minimum Wage says:

    Please raise the minimum wage, because cost of living is more than my salary at this point. Working at a company that makes millions and earning less to nothing sucks.

    Or review companies salaries which reflects job descriptions because some owners do not care unless authority has to step in. If your business is making millions every couple of months why cant you reward your workers with a decent salary?

    Like 35
    Dislike 2
  4. son of the soil says:


    Like 5
    Dislike 39
  5. the BVI says:

    is for bvislanders at home and abroad

    Like 9
    Dislike 10
    • So says:

      What’s to dislike about the comment? If you form Tin-book-2 you from tin-book-2. You’re only borrowing the other place.

  6. OH YEAH says:


    Like 11
    Dislike 45
  7. Ira Smith says:

    “if it is not going to benefit us then we don’t need it”

    Like 2
    Dislike 24
  8. Bigotry says:

    This man needs to try to understand how the economy works. Many of the people who are on work permit work for BVIslander owned businesses. Many work in the financial services sector which brings in the most money for the government to be able to provide services. We do not have enough home grown locals to properly service the needs of our economy. Why do you continue with this anti-expat behavior? You are destroying the country. These people on work permits, where do they live? Aren’t most of them renting and living in BVI owned apartments? Who supports the BVI owned businesses as customers while we locals shop in St. Thomas or buy everything online and bring them through mail box services. Vincent, you continue to show your true colours. If you think you are helping the country with these policies then you really do not have a clue.

    Like 62
    Dislike 5
    • DON'T GET IT TWISTED says:


      Like 8
      Dislike 28
  9. Anonymous says:


    You talking about immigration that department is just a waste of time you report ppl and still they are left to roam the streets of tola without work permit not paying any taxes . That new system with work permit staying so long before you get it has caused a mess in this place after chkn a few times and not getting it ppl tends to not bother to look for it and stay in the territory illegal I know of about 12 person here illegal and immigration know of them to . It have officer taking money to give ppl time them talking about the police but immigration need serious shaking up!!!

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
  10. BVI is no different says:


    Like 5
    Dislike 10
  11. bvislanders says:

    Stand your ground Vincent VG got your back!

    Like 3
    Dislike 25
  12. Look ere! says:

    So BVI islanders don’t also work in other people’s country? Oh! I guess the BVI is the only attractive place to live and work.
    The benefit is all around you sir!

    Like 30
    Dislike 1
  13. POV says:

    When Trump said America first, that was OK. Don’t mind the noise, Wheatley.

    Like 3
    Dislike 22
  14. Bumpy says:

    Mr. Minister I never thought that you wdre so inept. You surprise the sh*t out of me. Number one its not expats who take out work permits for people to work. Number two try getting a local to come clean your house or ctake care and clean an elderly person who cant help themselves. Mr. Wheatley stop being so partial. You cant run a country with your dumb way of thinking.

    Like 33
    Dislike 1
  15. its a shame says:

    Send home all the expats Vincent. Every last one. And see if you could get a pay check for your ministerial position after that. Where will the money come from? Stop being such a Donald Trump. No wonder work permit applications take this long because the minister is anti-expats and work permits. Build a wall around the BVI like how Trump was trying to build one. I knew all along that you were like this. I though you changed.

    Like 28
  16. LOL says:

    Under this guys watch business is seriously suffering which will affect belongers as well. The labour department is a joke in the time it is taking to get renewals and new permits. Businesses are being warned and investing elsewhere

    Like 25
  17. Wow says:

    I had so much respect for you but you sound dumb. Cayman island had a similar issue and realize that the system was not working and had to compensate the work permit holders. Work permit benefits the territory with your foolish question. If we don’t have the required personnel then it has to be sourced outside. Canada, USA and many countries has the same system in place, sometimes I wonder where your head is at? So you rather existing businesses to go down the drain by with holding permits for months and still can’t fill the post with our locals. Election coming around again

    Like 23
  18. redstorm says:

    Development include many people. many skills set and innovations and many countries. You do not have a local working university just a local community college. There is a skills school, that produces costomotologist, mechanics and some others. How consistent this is producing the skilled people is beyond me.

    When foreigners comes to this island, it is because the natives do not want the jobs or do not have the skills set for it.

    As a Minister for Labour it should have been your first mantra to get your people from ages 16-29 0r 35 become innovators for solving problems in the BVI. How many natives own their own resort? if None, then take 10 of the youth and assist them to create a resort on one of those islands. Combine technology for the architect and create blue prints for sustainable resort , use the waste products that comes from the items that has been imported. All the bottles and cans and include it as material for building.

    The question should not be asked, as it give a very dull atmosphere of non thinkers. How many Fishermen have a export market for the lobsters and tuna, Mahi fish. Help ten of the youth to acquire a trawler boat to fish produce and create business both local and international. They need political will and support for their future.

    How many farmers are producing guava berry for export, give ten youth ten acres of lands and support for them to plant. Eat what you grow should be an initiative for the BVI.

    No other person will benefit simple it is because you own the land. Those who come to work will go after they finish, if they decided to stay , they become part of the community as belongers or others grafting in persons, having the same rights and privileges.

    Like 15
    Dislike 1
  19. LOL says:

    This is what happens when we elect INCOMPETENCE. How would you expect a former Teacher to understand anything regarding businesses, workforce etc.? The BVI has a local population of around 12,000 give or take. How many of these are working age? How many have a good and/or their own business so not interested in the jobs that are available? How many are qualified for ALL AVAILABLE JOBS? ALL VIBRANT ECONOMIES RELY ON IMMIGRATION FOR WORKFORCE! Look at the USA, Europe etc. Of course we have to manage the permit and immigration process properly but this guy is clearly way out of his league if he thinks stopping permits will mean more local employment opportunities. He is clueless about business.

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
    • redstorm says:

      I love your comment, but go easy on the minister. The world is closing at a quick gap of what used to be , and what it is now. I would love to see the statistic of the working age of youth between 16-35, I know they dont have this stats on this.

      Many countries give lots of money towards educating their people in business and skillset. One it help in feeding the nation. For those who are Agriculture graduates can start to work the land with innovative skills. For those who are business graduates can start to create business plans in services. Hiring people on small scales and day and week work, this can be an addition to someone who might have no job or after their 9-5 jobs. The population growth is lapsying in 30years, it means the gap has widen. For every death there should be a birth for population increase, unless there is an import of people to live, marry and work in BVI. If there were nine death in 2021, there should be 10 birth in 2021. but it contributes to more than this factors, age, skills and so forth.

      His focus is on the small things, therefore poor vision is not acceptable. There are lots of things that can enable a vibrant BVI. The population of natives must move with purpose and innovation. They should be the one to own Insurance Companies/ financial institutions etc. Change the narrative to stay within your goals for the country. It only take 250 thousand dollars to open your own credit union, it is time BVI native unity and together get their own bank.

  20. Hmmm says:

    The irony is hearing all this bulls**t yet no investment in education.

    Like 26
  21. Eat a food vip government says:

    I so wish today was election to get rid of this xenophobic dude and his cronies.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
  22. Karma says:

    Myron Walwyn and NDP had a YES program that was properly run by some local young people and it made a positive impact on youth employment. VIP wasn’t elected a full month good and they dismantled the entire program and never replaced it. Now here we have this jacka** braying and have no clue. As much as they made some missteps I would take the NDP back tomorrow if I could. This VIP Government is the ABSOLUTE WORST and most incompetent in history.

    Like 15
    Dislike 2
  23. Anonymous says:

    Businesses need to sue this guy and his ministry. His mindset and policies is no doubt affecting business when it comes to delayed or non-issuance of work permits.

    On another note, he needs to understand that private businesses cannot be forced to hire who he wants. They have their own criteria for hiring, and government needs to get out of the way.

    A better approach would have been to:

    1. Work with the Minister of Education to ensure BVI Islanders educational system is up to par relative to the work market, and

    2. Create incentives for employers to hire as many BVI as possible. Whether it be tax incentives or whatever the case may be.

    However, to take this ill advised heavy handed approach is looking like what it is: xenophobia. It’s also interfering with private businesses.

    For those business being affected by this guys policies, they should consider taking legal action if indeed they believe that he and his ministry has been affected negatively thru his action.

    It been many years this guy has been on this ex-pat crusade. Someone needs to take his to court.

    Like 10
  24. @ REDSTORM says:

    very intelligently put 👌 , but that guy is e**l 😈😳 , I wish he will read and learn something
    constructive from what you wrote (money gram is a reminder of this e**l 😈feLLa mind

  25. Cato says:

    Good Question for you to answer.

  26. Jokes says:

    Cayman Islands giving out work permits for THREE MONTHS. Like it or leave it.

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  27. BVI says:

    VW Yo bold. We like that.
    Work permits worldwide are designed for TEMPORARY MIGRATION and to provide needed Labour to build up the host country while helping the person to improve their and family economic circumstance in the country of origin. But in BVI work permits have become license to stay permanently and while doing so to bring along the whole Britain Band while doing everything possible to crush the confidence and opportunities of BVIslanders.

    Like 6
    Dislike 8
  28. LOL says:

    So let’s just turn over all the mortgaged properties to the Banks, no more renters because businesses do not need skilled staff. Let’s find renters for all the offices the Trust Companies now occupy because why should they put up with this nonsense to get skilled labor when they can just go down island and rent there. Then they will assist developing the economy down island and all your down island expats can go back home and earn a living there. Make sure only Belonger stores and restaurants are operating so only they will benefit. Hmm Tourists liked the ambiance.gourmet food and service of some of the expat operated businesses, they will just need to go someplace else because there is no better place then the BVI and they just will have to accept what is offered or stay away. That will also provide an opportunity for people in our third business pillar to buy up businesses cheap.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  29. Same old says:

    This guy just doesn’t get it. And many other „locals“ as well. Without all the hard working foreigners you could close down your BVIs. End of story.

    Like 10
    Dislike 2
    • Hmm says:

      Keep trying to convince yourself of that fallacy meanwhile
      Let this sink in.without foreigners our thousands of BVI locals living abroad will feel comfortable coming home to take up jobs. But that aside
      NO ONE IS TRYING TO GET RID OF FOREIGNERS foreigners looking work should only be coming to do jobs locals cannot or don’t want to do NOT for the present situation of 95% foreigner employees in some businesses mind you the 5% is foreigners who get localized through marriage or money.

    • @same old says:

      Are you hard bent that had it not been for work permit holders BVI would be nothing? It sounds like this is what you’re saying.

  30. Work permits are designed says:

    to be temporary to fill gaps in employment. Not to be a vehicle for mass immigration. When a suitable local is available then the work permit is no longer needed. Yall fake praise Lavity every year and turn around and spit in the face of his vision. Lavity was for his people.

    Like 4
    Dislike 6
  31. Truth says:

    Does he realize that it’s BVISLANDER OWNED BUSINESSES that suffer the most from this foolishness? We lost so many people due to Irma and COVID, with the economy slowly coming back on stream, why is it shocking that permit applications are higher than the last 3 years or so? It’s not because outsiders want to takeover, it’s because the f**king economy is finally bouncing back after 4 years.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  32. Indee says:

    As work permits continue to be handed out in the territory
    Thought work permits had to be paid for

  33. The Real Judge says:

    Its like we can’t speak freely in our country.
    What wrong with saying the work force must be localized? Every country has a responsibility to make sure their people are employed. If you dont like the laws of this country don’t come on here on this media talking about incompetent, just go back to your country where all the competent people born. I wonder why you left your competent country and fraid to return home. Don’t mind these illiterate people Mr. Wheatley, we have to protect our own. When Irma came many ran home, we had to stay and build back what belongs to us.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  34. Society's Problems says:

    For decades the incompetent education department has been abandoning children who do not learn just by sitting at a desk all day writing notes and repeating the information into memory long enough to pass an exam.

    They get labeled as difficult and are held back until they give up or are thrown out. Now we have to import plumbers, carpenters, etc. Now we have to import them all. These same young men ridiculed for operating an illegal business while sitting down under a tree could have been legal business owners contributing positively to society if anyone had bothered to care and have some foresight of what a generation of abandoned young men (mostly) would mean for the future of the BVI.

    The BVI has been and is still down the rabbit hole, where the only thing that matters is the acquisition of money, and this will be her downfall. Your bank accounts might be full but your society and its values are empty.

    For a place that loves money so, you would think the youth would be raise to see the value in part time jobs from an early age. These level entry jobs like cashiers, gas station attendants, food servers, waiters…alot of these position should be work experience for the youth. Pride will kill.

    -BVI born and raised (mostly)

  35. Wise Up Mr. Minister. says:

    Work permit being happening before you were born before you are who you are. They were your friends when you own forsake you. Work permit holders were your teachers. Your band members and those who help you along the way. Work permit holders help build this great country that gave you this great opportunity..So stop spiting Venum from your Mouth.. Wise up.

  36. WEW says:

    An expat comes to work with work boots or shoes on. A belonger comes to work with slippers on. Need i say more ?

  37. UNKNOWN says:

    I mean i understand that he is looking out for his country , but also i do not see any locals applying for the jobs that are vacant, example they have many domestic jobs that would most likely be available and they dont want that they prefer a office job.
    He should look at it both ways also .
    Anytime i would have a conversation with any young folks and ask them if they are working they said no the job they wanted its not available and they don’t want to work cleaning or anything of the sort , i’ve come across many young local folks who gave me a similar response. I totally understand him for looking out for the country but maybe thats something he should look at . 🙂

Leave a Comment