Excessive punishment! The leader of the opposition denounces the long wait for work permits

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has spoken out against the suffering suffered by business owners due to the long time taken by the Department of Labor to process work permits in recent times.

He noted that some had to wait up to six months to be approved.

“I have already expressed publicly in the media my displeasure, particularly over concerns about the length of time it takes for work permits to be processed by the Department of Labor and the undue hardship on businesses,” Penn said during of an opposition press briefing yesterday. .

Penn noted that the issue was particularly critical at a time when businesses have been inactive or had limited activity for the past 18 months and have had to put staff in place to capitalize on the tourist season the BVI is currently experiencing.

Conflicting accounts of the reason for the delays

According to the Eighth District representative, there have also been conflicting accounts from government officials, particularly Labor Minister Vincent Wheatley, about the real reason for the significant delays.

Minister Wheatley previously noted in one case that due diligence on permits was the main cause of the delay. He said this was to ensure that work permits were not issued to expatriates while locals sat around unable to find jobs in their own country.

It was also described that there are significant staffing issues within the Department of Labor resulting in a backlog of permit applications and the resulting backlog.

Just recently at a press conference, Prime Minister Andrew Fahie again said the unprecedented number of new work permit applications received by the department was the result of the unexpected rebound and resurgence in the robust US economy. BVI, calling it a “good-bad problem”. ‘ for the territory to have.

“The minister has to decide what it is. But what it is is poor management and its inability to deal with this problem and put these people in place so that companies can move forward. This creates additional and undue hardship for businesses that currently need essential labor and for the economy that needs that incumbent workforce to run a billion dollar economy. what is BVI,” Penn said.

The Leader of the Opposition urged that the situation be brought under control and argued that by the time some of the work permits were finally approved, the tourist season would be over and business owners would not be able to staff their personnel operations.

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