Caribbean News Service (CNS).
TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Jul 05 2016 – Cabinet has approved the recommendation for persons from foreign countries, including within the Caribbean, who are holders of United States, Canadian and United Kingdom (UK) visas, to no longer require a BVI visa to enter the Territory.
Premier and Finance Minister, Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith confirmed this with BVI Platinum News, but pointed out that it does not take effect as yet, since there are additional details to be sorted out.
“Yes, that has been approved, but we still have to work out some other details…What we are saying is that if you have an American visa, or British Visa, those persons would have been vetted thoroughly by those countries, therefore it will make it easier for those persons to come here,” he told BVI Platinum News.
This is part of several steps the Territory is taking to implement recommendations outlined by international consulting firm McKinsey and Company, which was commissioned to develop a strategic plan to chart the future of the financial services industry.
Previously, Mr. Kedrick Malone, Director of the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU) explained to BVI Platinum News the reason for the visa proposal to Cabinet, stating that those countries already have a strong process when issuing visas, hence, there is no need for holders of such visas to have to go through another process to get into the BVI.
Malone had also said that local and foreign investors may soon find the immigration and labour processes favorable, as Cabinet is currently reviewing a proposal to relax certain restrictions to give investors free access for up to 20 years. The ten initiatives which were outlined by the McKinsey report are – Establish a dedicated Delivery Unit to coordinate and drive implementation; Revamp the International Finance Centre; Strengthen the Business Development Function; Engage the Population; Build BVIslander Capabilities; Pursue Tax Initiatives; Enhance Customer Service at the Financial Services Commission; Attract and Offer Value-Added Services; Reform Immigration & Labour and Invest in Infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Premier Smith said that this new move, along with the recent amendment to Immigration and Passport Amendment Act 2015 in April of this year, are in no way opening the floodgates.
“It’s not opening any floodgates…It’s (immigration amendment) just making it more convenient for businesses to be able to carry on their work,” he said.
The amendment allows for persons who have been working in the Territory for five years or more and are changing employers, to no longer be required to leave the Territory during the transition process.
It also touches change of status in granting permission to persons who have resided in the Territory without being employed for at least three years, to change their immigration status to seek employment. These changes are likely to be subject to an increase in fees. (Virgin Islands Platinum News)