As part of ongoing efforts to streamline the work permit renewal process, Deputy Premier Lorna Smith announced on Monday that employers and human resource managers can now collect renewals on behalf of their employees.

“Allowing employers, agents, and human resource managers to collect renewal work permits on behalf of their employees will enable organisations to optimise productivity by freeing up valuable time and resources for other critical business activities,” Ms. Smith said in a press release. “By allowing authorised representatives to collect renewal work permits, the [Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade] expects a more efficient and convenient experience for all stakeholders, contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of the territory.”

The change follows a consultation held on June 21 with business leaders, according to the press release.

Labour Commissioner Michelle McLean said in the announcement that the Department of Labour and Workforce Development will work with the ministry to “explore further policies and procedures to minimise potential delays and improve overall operational efficiency.”

For employers and human resource managers to collect work permits on behalf of employees, they must have written authorisation from employees and a valid identification.

Additionally, employees must be physically present in the territory, have valid immigration stamps in their passports, and provide a passport-sized photo taken within the previous six months.

No automated system

The announcement follows years of unfulfilled promises to automate the work permit renewal process.

Previously, a much-anticipated online system rolled out in July 2021 and briefly accepted applications for new permits and renewals alike. But it stopped accepting renewals in December 2021 before completely shutting down in February 2022.

Officials said in January of this year that they hoped to relaunch an online system by the end of March, but that still hasn’t happened.

Meanwhile, businesses have complained about long delays in processing permits, and Ms. Smith has repeatedly promised reforms since she was elected to office in the April 24 general election.