STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT O. WHEATLEY
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES, LABOUR & IMMIGRATION
THIRTEENTH SITTING OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Tuesday, 21 JULY, 2020
Update on Work Permit Requirements
Mister Speaker, thank you for permitting me to address this Honourable House to give an update on my statement made in the last sitting as it pertains to Work Permits.
Mister Speaker, I noted then, that effective immediately, all work permit renewals being submitted to the Department of Labour and Workforce Development are to be accompanied by the company’s good standings from the Social Security Board, Inland Revenue Department and National Health Insurance, as well as the certificates of earnings from the Social Security Board and Inland Revenue Department for the applicable employee seeking a renewal of his or her work permit. Without the mentioned documentation work permits will not be accepted by the Department of Labour and Workforce Development.
Mister Speaker, I know that persons have been complaining about the length of time it takes to receive these certificates of Good Standing as very often we are still operating on manual systems. Mr. Speaker, it has been brought to my attention that there are many employers who have large outstanding balances and are unable to make a one-time payment to qualify for the certificates. As it is not our intention to turn well-meaning business persons in criminals, taking into consideration that many businesses are still recovering from the devastations of 2017, we have decided to relax the requirements, just a bit, as we still have to collect our dues.
Mister Speaker, having said that, I wish to make it clear that those businesses not in Good Standing will be allowed to renew work permits once they present a payment plan. We do understand the difficulties faced by many and it is never our intention to make things even more difficult. It is the intention of the Government to have the relevant departments assist employers with their payment plans in order to pay off their balances. These plans can be attached to the renewal work permit application which the Department of Labour and Workforce Development will accept to process the renewals.
Further Mister Speaker, a meeting was convened by the Permanent Secretary in my Ministry with all the relevant departments to discuss and address these concerns. Coming out of that meeting are plans to put an electronic system in place and thus allow the various departments to respond in a timelier manner.
Mister Speaker, we will continue to do our best to ensure that all are given as much assistance as possible during this time of great uncertainty.
Thank you Mister Speaker.