Come May 15, the Labour Department will require higher-earning expatriates to shell out as much as ten times the current rate for their work permit fees each year.

“After maintaining work permit fees at the same level since 1981, the BVI government has amended the work permit fee structure to one that is progressive and based on income,” Deputy Premier Dr. Kedrick Pickering said while announcing the change during a House of Assembly sitting on Tuesday.

Expatriates earning up to $25,000 will be charged three percent of their income; those earning between $25,001 and $50,000 will be charged five percent; and those earning more than $50,000 will pay seven percent, according to Dr. Pickering (R-D7), who also serves as minister of natural resources and labour.

Work permit fees will be capped at $10,000 regardless of income, he added.

Additionally, the minister noted that special consideration had been made for “domestic workers,” who will pay only one percent of their annual salary each year.

Work permit fees are currently set by the 2005 Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges Act, which established a relatively straightforward sliding scale based on salary.

For example, employees earning between $15,000 and $20,000 are charged $500 annually, employees earning between $20,000 and $25,000 are charged $600, and employees who make more than $25,000 are charged $1,000.

Workers are also currently charged $75 for the permit card itself. On top of that, the new system will tack on an additional $50 application fee each year, Dr. Pickering explained.

Though no public meetings were held to discuss the change, the deputy premier said that government consulted with representatives from different industries before deciding to make the change.

See the April 20, 2017 edition for full coverage.