Unemployed Expats In The BVI May Be Shown The Door

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Published:  16 Jul at 6 PM
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Expats in the BVI rendered unemployed by the pandemic are now dependent on the government’s allowing them to stay.

In a troubling scenario now becoming common in many countries worldwide, unemployed expats in the British Virgin Islands may well be thrown out. During a radio interview earlier this week, the BVI minister of labour stated the government is assessing the numbers involved before issuing a deadline after which they must leave. The move comes several days after another similar statement told expatriate residents they must leave if they’d lost their jobs and had no other means of support.

Unlike in many other world countries, the BVI’s government has already assured those negatively affected by the pandemic they wouldn’t be summarily forced to leave, adding those concerned should come forward and identify their problems in order that the state could give a helping hand as regards getting back to their home countries. According to an official, no-one has come forward as yet, but it’s realised that everything now depends on the worldwide spread of the virus.

As with many other conundrums faced by leaders of countries all across the world, the BVI has a good number of expat residents who were either employed or running small businesses based on tourism and who now have no income due to lockdowns and the cancellation of almost all flights. No-one knows when it will be safe to open up economies, businesses and tourist attractions, nor can it be predicted when or if tourism will return as a major earner for any state’s GDP.

In the BVI as well as in most smaller countries worldwide, the system is now broken - it’s governments who should be mending it rather than causing even more misery and fear for those unwittingly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Compassion is the answer, but no-one at the top is asking the right questions. If this is the new post-pandemic world order, heaven help the human race.

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