Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering is assuring that better service from the Labour Department will now accompany the hike in work permit fees.
Hon. Pickering while speaking in the House of Assembly on April 18 explained that the new work permit fee increase will be coming into effect next month, but stressed that a seamless work permit process and service is part of the upgrade:
“It is important to note that Government is taking steps to give customers better value for money. As we prepare to increase work permit fees, the Labour Department has already started implementing measures to improve operational efficiently and improve customer service...Persons seeking work permit renewals can now expect that their applications to be processed within two weeks,” the Deputy Premier said.
The Minister explained that the new fee structure makes special consideration for domestic workers who will pay just one percent of their annual salary. On the other hand other workers, he said will be required to pay a three percent fee for earnings up to $25,000 per annum.
Whereas employees earning from $25,001 to $50,000 annually will be required to pay a five percent work permit fee. While persons with annual salaries above $50,001 will be charged a seven percent work permit fee. The same goes for persons earning up to $150,000. However, it was noted that there will be a fee cap at $10,000; which means that no work permit will cost in excess of 10,000.
Additionally the new fee structure also introduces a $50 application fee, in addition to the $75 fee that is currently charged for the issuance of the work permit card.
Hon. Pickering announced that the hike in price may entice persons to understate their salaries, but he announced that there is a penalty for misleading information: “This is a new structure requiring higher income earners to pay higher fees. We recognize that there is a potential risk for persons to understate their income to benefit from lower work permit fees. However, we are taking steps to discourage this practice by including a penalty of 10 percent of annual income for understating your income,” Hon. Pickering declared.
The Deputy Premier also announced that the fee increase is a result of a consultation process: “It must be noted that Government did not arbitrarily raise work permit fees. We consulted with industry practitioners. You would recall that the Honourable Premier first spoke about increased fees when he delivered his 2016 budget in December last year, and he announced that the changes will take effect in 2017.”
“You got stakeholders from financial services, the accommodation and beverages sectors of the tourism industry, construction and legal sectors, as well as the marine industry, among others. There was a collective approach to increasing work permit fees. We did not do this in isolation,” he added.
- Source: BVIHotpress.com