Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Complaints from the business community has pushed the government to review and revamp their new payment structure for work permits, less than two days after the official announcement was made.
In closing remarks in the House of Assembly last evening, April 20, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering disclosed that he has received a number of letters and calls from various businesses around the Territory, expressing their displeasure towards the new scheme.
“I have already had a number of letters with respect to the work permit fees that we have recommended to increase...A number of calls and a number of letters written by major companies in the country, advising us about the implementation of the fees.”
Hon. Pickering went on to note that he assured the businesses that a review will be done of the scheme, adding that their concerns will be taken into consideration.
“What they have said, and I want to assure them, because I am sure that my colleagues will understand this and we will all look at it again, that we are implementing the fees mid-financial year for most of the businesses, and in some cases, it is going to be a tremendous burden on the businesses. And I think that it is something that we need to look at and make some decisions about.”
"...But to reassure the businesses in the country that we have noted your concern and it is something that we are going to review and take into consideration."
On Tuesday, April 18, Hon. Pickering made the official announcement that the amended pay scheme for work permits, which sees an increase in the fees, would take effect from May 15, 2017.
Accordingly, he that noted under the new fee structure, special consideration was made for domestic workers in the Territory, where they are now required to pay 1% of their annual salary.
The scheme notes that expatriates who earn up to $25,000 per annum, will pay a fee of 3% of their annual salary, while persons who earn between $25,001 to $50,000 will pay a total of 5%, and persons who earn $50,001 and above will pay a total of 7%.
Persons who earn in excess of $150,000 will be charged 7% of their annual salary.
There will be a fee cap at $10,000, which means that no work permit will cost in excess of $10,000.
There was also an introduction of a $50 application fee, in addition to the $75 fee that is currently in place for the issuance of the work permit card.