A new fee structure to replace a 1977 system is currently being drafted at the Immigration Department, according to Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley.

During a Feb. 25 House of Assembly meeting, Mr. Wheatley updated the territory on the department’s initiative to review the current fees with an eye toward raising them.

“The revision has been based on regional trends and the rising cost to provide services,” Mr. Wheatley said.

The minister also shared projects the Department of Labour and Workforce Development will embark upon this year, including reducing unauthorised employment and curtailing the number of disputes by educating employers of their rights and responsibilities as prescribed by the Labour Code, 2010.

Other initiatives include a Skilled Workers Amnesty Programme, which will offer skilled workers who don’t have employers listed on their work permits to contact the department and regularise their work permit status.

Additionally, a health and safety campaign will commence in order to build employer awareness and compliance to the Labour Code, 2010, but Mr. Wheatley did not specify a timeframe for this effort other than saying it will happen this year.

The premier’s vision to create 1,000 jobs in 1,000 days will continue, Mr. Wheatley said, and the department will offer “soft skills training” to jobseekers.

Border system

Additionally, a new border management system will be installed in three phases, the first of which will roll out in April at all seaports, accord- ing to the minister.

Intended to “ensure efficiency as persons pass through our borders and at the same time maintain a high level of security for the territory,” the system will be developed by the firm Canadian Bank Note, Mr. Wheatley said.

In light of the coronavirus, Mr. Wheatley also said that measures are being taken at the borders: The minister of health and social development is receiving updates on a regular basis while the chief immigration officer has made sure immigration officers have the necessary tools and gear to protect themselves, he added.


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