By Nadia James-Harris [GIS]
Immigration and Labour officials have updated Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE on strategies to reform and strengthen the labour and immigration processes in the Territory and the short-term solutions being implemented to jump-start the changes.
The meeting held on Thursday, January 14, fulfilled a commitment from the Honourable Premier that was made at the BVI Business Outlook conference to provide an update on planned changes for labour and immigration. The conference was attended by a cross-section of industry and Government representatives and had as one of its discussion topics, “Beyond McKinsey”.
Global consultants, McKinsey and Company facilitated a financial services consultancy in 2014, in which it identified priority initiatives for the future development and strengthening of the financial services sector in the BVI.
These initiatives have since been branded BVI Forward, the Government’s campaign to strengthen the financial services industry and secure a sustainable future for the British Virgin Islands. The report identified labour and immigration reform as a key area for reform with the core objective of bringing immigration and labour policies in line with international best practice.
Premier Smith said that though proposed by the Initiative Working Team, the responsibility for implementation of the planned reforms rests with the Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU) and the respective Government departments.
The FSIU has been working in close collaboration with immigration and labour officials and several meetings have been held in recent months with discussions focusing largely on streamlining processes at both departments.
The next step in the proposed reform process is the review of reforms by the Cabinet.