The Department of Labour in collaboration with the Immigration Department is moving to implement new work permit processes with noticeable changes starting January 2017.
The departments in collaboration with the Financial services Implementation Unit (FSIU) have explored ways to enhance their internal processes and are now actively taking steps to implement improvements in the delivery of work permits.
The first phase of the process improvements is heavily focused on the Department of Labour.
Labour Commissioner, Mrs. Janice Rymer said in this first phase, the department is committed to delivering improved service through greater efficiency and better customer service.
“One of the immediate service improvements the public will benefit from is a reduction in the processing time for work permit applications. Our goal is to establish a four-week window for the processing of new permits and two weeks for renewals. This timeframe is inclusive of processing by both labour and immigration departments. Ultimately, we want to make the work permit application process as simple as possible, improve efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction,” she said.
The Labour Commissioner also noted that the process improvements will enable the department to focus more on other functions within its portfolio. There are plans afoot to establish an electronic central job board and strengthen the placement unit which is responsible for building the capability of job-seekers in the BVI.
She said, “The new processes will facilitate a better link between the departments and their respective ministries and will pave the way for more effective evidence-based policy making. It will also reduce administrative burden, thereby allowing more of the department’s resources to focus on employment services and helping locals to improve their skills and qualifications for available jobs.”
The enhancement in service delivery by both departments is in keeping with the BVI Forward Initiative to Reform Immigration and Labour, which is spearheaded by Mr. Gerard Farara as the Initiative Sponsor, assigned by the Honourable Premier.
FSIU’s Delivery Specialist, Ms. Monique Hodge is the lead for this particular initiative and along with Data Analyst, Ms. Aida Biberic, has been working closely with both departments in recent months to implement the scheduled improvements.
Ms. Hodge said, “The FSIU facilitated the development of an Enhanced Service Model based on the recommendations of the Initiative Working Group and in consultation with both departments. We have since identified project leaders who are working with project teams to make the recommended changes a reality. Both departments are firmly committed to having the improved processes implemented by January 2017.”
She added, “While the Enhanced Service Model is setting the stage for electronic processing, it is also in keeping with the overall e-government policy. Offering the convenience of online transactions at key government departments is integral to the overall success of the e-government initiative and providing better service to the public.”
The Reform of Immigration and Labour is recognised as one of the most critical in the BVI Forward campaign. It is key to attracting and retaining the necessary talent to support the financial services industry while at the same time developing the capability of BVIslanders.