Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Immigration Update

The National Democratic Party won the elections in November, and as was anticipated, there have been several changes to the immigration and work permit policy since the new government took office on the 1st of January. 

The first major change announced was the removal of long-term Labour Commissioner Oleanvine Maynard, and her replacement by Janice Rymer. There is also discussion that Chief Immigration Officer Dennis Jennings may be replaced as well. 

The expectation is that Ms. Rymer will help institute a more belonger-focused Department of Labour, and be less likely to grant special permissions to foreigners, an expectation being reinforced by the series of "town hall" meetings on labour that Deputy Premier Kendrick Pickering has been holding in the new year. As noted in the statement, Dr. Pickering intends to address four major issues at these town hall meetings, including the change in personnel, but most importantly for potential new immigrants, "reviewing the policy for granting of new work permits"

I have heard rumors that there has been a moratorium imposed on granting of any new work permits until the town hall meetings are complete, but I am unable to find any news or government source to back that up. Nonetheless, there has been a decided slowing in the work permit process, as evidenced by the three months it took to process my renewal permit (as opposed to the customary six weeks). 

If you're trying to move to the BVI, keep in good contact with your potential employer about the work permit situation. BVINews.com is a pretty decent, up-to-date resource for government happenings as well. 

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