The business community has made representation to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering for consideration as it relates to the work permit fee hike that is expected to go into effect on 15 May.
The announcement of the increase in work permit fees was made by Hon. Pickering in a statement to the House of Assembly on 18 April. However, during the continuation of the sitting on 20 April the Minister disclosed that he has since received letters from business owners.
Hon. Pickering told the House: “I have already had a number of letters with respect to the work permit fees that we have recommended to increase. A number of calls and a number of letters written by major companies in the country advising us about the implementation of the fees.”
In noting the concerns of the business community, the Deputy Premier stated that many business owners feel that the timing for the increase is not opportune: “What they have said, and I want to assure them because I am sure that my colleagues will understand this, and we will all look at it again – that we are implementing the fees mid-financial year. For most of the businesses, and in some cases it is going to be a tremendous burden on the businesses. I think that it is something that we need to look at and make some decisions about,” the Labour Minister disclosed.
He announced that he was mentioning the matter in the House to assure the businesses in the Territory that their concerns have been carefully evaluated: “It is something that we are going to review and take into consideration,” Dr. Pickering said.
On Tuesday, the Minister explained that the new fee structure makes special consideration for domestic workers who will pay just one percent of their annual salary. On the other hand other workers will be required to pay a three percent fee for earnings up to $25,000 per annum.
Whereas employees earning from $25,001 to $50,000 annually will be required to pay a five percent work permit fee. While persons with annual salaries above $50,001 will be charged a seven percent work permit fee. The same goes for persons earning up to $150,000. However, it was noted that there will be a fee cap at $10,000; which means that no work permit will cost in excess of 10,000.
Additionally the new fee structure also introduces a $50 application fee, in addition to the $75 fee that is currently charged for the issuance of the work permit card.