Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
The Immigration and Passport Act (CAP.130) will be revised and amended to align with international standards and best practice and to ensure that the legislation is in keeping with the transformation plan for the Department of Immigration.
This announcement was made in the First Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HOA) on Thursday, November 5, where His Excellency the Governor, Augustus J.U. Jaspert delivered the Speech from the Throne outlining the Government of the Virgin Island’s Legislative Agenda.
Changes to the Act will include having a variety of systems online, which will result in the Immigration Department being more effective and efficient; giving the department the power to charge compound fees on persons who enter the country illegally without having to take them to court, and amending the Immigration policy to allow longer stay for investors in an effort to attract more business to the British Virgin Islands.
Shortly after the Speech from the Throne was delivered, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley give his perspective on the immigration transformation.
Honourable Wheatley said, “What we’re going to be doing is bringing our processes online, we’re going to make sure that you don’t waste a lot of time in line processing stuff.”
Minister Wheatley went on to speak about attracting more businesses to the BVI to boost our economy.
Honourable Wheatley said, “Also we’re going facilitate more businesses coming to the BVI with persons being able to stay longer and work from the BVI. These things will have a direct benefit to the economy financially.”
The Immigration Department continues to contribute to the security and prosperity in building a stronger and better BVI, by operating fair but firm immigration control that regulates and facilitates the movement of people through BVI borders while exercising sound judgment in the performance of duties. The department also ensures that the needs of their customers are met in an efficient, effective and courteous manner in accordance with BVI Immigration laws.
The Speech from the Throne is delivered at the beginning of each new session of the House of Assembly. The Speech from the Throne is prepared within the Premier’s Office in consultation with Ministries. The Speech is then deliberated and approved by the elected Government of the Virgin Islands. Subsequently, the Speech is delivered to the Governor. During the First Sitting of the HOA, the Premier and Minister of Finance, then moves a motion to invite the Governor to read the Speech from the Throne. The Government’s Legislative Agenda is monitored by the Premier’s Office to ensure that it moves forward with fortitude and determination.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photo 1: Official Photo of Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley (Photo credit: GIS)