Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering has announced that implementation of the new work permit fees is delayed indefinitely.
Minister Pickering in an initial announcement in the House of Assembly on April 18 said the fees were approved by Cabinet following protracted consultation with industry practitioners and stakeholders which led to the collective decision.
Honourable Pickering in an updated announcement on Friday, May 19 said the implementation date has passed and the instruments have not been issued for the effectiveness of the work permit fee changes.
Minister Pickering said, “We have had representation from several of the major businesses asking us to reconsider the timing. None of the businesses objected to the work permit increases, but two of their primary concerns, were one, the timing, because we are almost in the middle of the financial year and the second point that we have been asked to reconsider is the percentage of some of the increases.”
He added that the implementation of the fee increases is now delayed to review the concerns raised by the various companies that have written, called and spoken to the Government.
Honourable Pickering said the Government is looking at the recommendations and the approaches that can be taken, and is mindful of the fact that companies recently had to make adjustments for National Health Insurance (NHI). He said Government is not trying to create burdens and is also mindful that in the hospitality industry there may be an issue in room charges or hotel charges.
Minister Pickering thanked members of the business community for their contribution to this process and assured them that information will be forthcoming in the coming months.
The Labour Department has been working with the Financial Services Implementation Unit to implement ways to improve efficient processing and customer service.
The Labour Department aims to promote good labour/management practices at workplaces to ensure stable and harmonious labour relations between employers and employees, and to protect the rights, wages, working conditions, safety, health and welfare of workers through enforcement of the Virgin Islands labour laws.