Cabinet has approved both funding and a company to implement a new border management system to address the issue of undocumented migrants living in the Virgin Islands, Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley announced last week.

The system, he said during a House of Assembly sitting, will integrate operations between Her Majesty’s Customs, the Civil Registry and Passport Office, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and the BVI Airports Authority.

He did not specify the company or the cost of the programme, but a recent update from the Cabinet Office provided more details.

Following an evaluation of received proposals, the Cabinet decided on May 15 to waive the formal tendering process for the design and supply of a new border management system from the company “Canada Bank Notes” in “the anticipated amount of $6,440,000 payable in annual installments of $1,288,000 over a period of five years,” according to the Cabinet update.

The brief was an apparent reference to the Ontario-based company Canadian Bank Note, whose website advertises border security solutions.

Labour updates

Mr. Wheatley also gave several updates on the newly renamed Department of Labour and Workforce Development, including a health campaign and the online work permit system.

The Health and Safety Campaign, which he said was set to launch last week, sends labour inspectors to businesses to educate employers on compliance with Part IX of the Labour Code.

It also includes initiatives to inform students in primary and secondary schools on safety measures to take at home and in school.

Meanwhile, he added that the department is set to roll out the online work permit system by late August.

Businesses, he said, will be able to submit work permit applications, make payments and receive updates on the status of their notifications online.

He went on to say that work permit holders will have to visit the department only to receive updated entry permit stamps on their passport.