Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering said it is imperative that improvements at the Labour Department are made to bring the BVI in line with practices in competing jurisdictions.
He made the comments as the Labour Department is in the final stages of preparation to begin testing a new process for the renewal of work permits.
The test phase commenced on March 15 and is intended to reduce processing time to two weeks. Full implementation is scheduled for May 15.
The revised procedure for processing renewals is part of efforts to enhance the operation of the Labour Department and improve customer service in keeping with the BVI Forward initiative to reform Immigration and Labour.
“Government is always exploring ways to improve service and the changes identified through our ongoing partnership with the private sector to illustrate our commitment to continuous improvement. Considerable time has been invested examining processes and we are now at the point of implementation," Minister Pickering said.
The Minister added, “The Labour Department is integral to the transformation of the BVI economy and must continue to serve as an enabler for employment opportunities by facilitating faster and more efficient business and customer friendly service. While work permit processing is one of the key services provided, the department will also be implementing plans through its Workforce Development Unit to better assist BVIslanders and Belongers who are unemployed.”
Labour Commissioner, Mrs. Janice Rhymer stated that the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU) has been working collaboratively with the Labour Department, mapping the work permit process and identifying options for improving efficiency to provide a faster and easier service for customers. She said the department will monitor the test phase and adjust as needed ahead of the full launch on May 15.
Mrs. Rymer said, “We have been very thorough in preparing to rollout this new work permit renewal process. However, we are certainly prepared to further refine the process through our own monitoring during the test phase and feedback from the public. Ultimately, we want to ensure that we are providing the best possible service to customers by minimising the time commitment for both applicants and the Labour Department while maintaining the integrity of the work permit renewal process.”
Mrs. Rymer added that in addition to faster processing, the new process will include introduction of a single-page renewal form that will be available in electronic and hard copy format. During the test phase, persons seeking to renew their work permits will have the option to complete the form electronically or manually and submit to the Labour Department.
The reduced processing time for work permit applications is part of an Enhanced Service Model recommended by the Immigration and Labour Initiative Team chaired by Gerry Farara as part of the implementation of the Financial Services Consultancy Report commissioned by the Government.
It was designed by the FSIU in collaboration with the Departments of Immigration and Labour.
- Source: BVIHotpress.com