Due to a large number of employers failing to qualify for certificates of good standing, the Department of Labour has relaxed its recently-revised policy needed for employees to renew their work permits.
Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley made that announcement during in Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.
He said: “It has been brought to my attention that there are many employers who have large outstanding balances and are unable to make a one-time payment to qualify for the certificates.”
“As it is not our intention to turn well-meaning business persons into criminals, taking into consideration that many businesses are still recovering from the devastations of 2017, we have decided to relax the requirements, just a bit, as we still have to collect our dues,” the minister added.
Payment plan must now be submitted
Wheatley said businesses who have failed to qualify for good standing certification will be allowed to renew work permits once they present a payment plan to the department outlining how they intend to repay the monies owed.
“It is the intention of the government to have the relevant departments assist employers with their payment plans in order to pay off their balances. These plans can be attached to the renewal work permit application which the Department of Labour and Workforce Development will accept to process the renewals,” he explained.
Electronic system to speed up processing
Due to the many complaints about the long processing time for entities to receive good standing certificates, Wheatley said his ministry will be upgrading from its current manual systems.
“A meeting was convened by the Permanent Secretary in my ministry with all the relevant departments to discuss and address these concerns. Coming out of that meeting are plans to put an electronic system in place and thus allow the various departments to respond in a timelier manner,” he stated.
The new policy
Earlier this month, Minister Wheatley announced that all applications from the employee would have to be submitted with good standing certificates of the employer’s company before the Labour Department accepts any work permit renewal applications.
These good standing certificates would show that the employer is up to date with all payments from the Social Security Board, Inland Revenue Department and National Health Insurance.