|Published:||8 Mar at 6 PM|
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British Virgin Islands premier Andrew Fahie has promised to regularise elegible expats’ statuses by allowing residency.
As part of a pledge to stimulate the local economy by putting people first, Fahie described British expats without formal residency as people who’ve worked and lived in the BVI for up to 20 years or more and have met every criterion necessary for residency status. Their applications, he said, seem to have been stuck for no good reason. He believes several thousand are affected, adding the issue is both moral and economic, as the children of non-residents are missing out and the country is also limited as to its ability to access their potential.
Fahie’s solution for the dilemma will come in the form of an amnesty for all expats without police records as well as for those who aren’t considered a security risk. Describing those without formal residency as neighbours and friends and adding many are benefiting the nation by working in the construction and service industries, Fahie also said expats’ remittances sent to their families back home could be better employed in investing in the country, but only if expats were legal residents.
The scheme is to be further evaluated by a specially-formed committee focusing on the benefits to be gained by expat non-residents as well as the positive impact on the BVI of the change in immigration law. Fahie is also the leader of the Virgin Islands Party, which is in favour of creating an environment in which expats would feel secure enough to save and invest in their adopted country.
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