The government has enacted a measure regarding the fees payable for work permits in the British Virgin Islands.

The Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges (Amendment of Schedule) (No 2) Order 2017 amends Part 45 of the Schedule to the Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges Act 2005, which governs statutory work permit fees. The amendment order came into force on July 1 2017.

Previously, most applicants had to pay a flat fee established by the band of salary that they would receive, for example, the fee for employees earning between $20,000 and $25,000 a year was $600 and the fee for employees earning over $25,000 a year was $1,000. This scheme was subject to various exceptions:

  • domestic workers (whose fee was only a nominal sum);
  • employees closely related to persons holding a controlling interest in the relevant company;
  • self-employed persons; and
  • a special weekly rate for persons or groups of people engaged in the performing arts.

The amendment order replaces the employee flat fee system with an incremental calculation based on salary bands, which now generally assume a higher gross salary. The fees are essentially:

  • 3% of gross annual salary for annual salary up to $25,000.
  • 5% of gross annual salary for annual salary between $25,001 and $50,000.
  • 7% of gross annual salary for annual salary above $50,001.

The maximum fee cap is $10,000.

By way of example, a person who earns $100,000 in annual salary will pay a work permit fee of $5,500 calculated as follows:

  • $25,000 calculated at 3% is $750;
  • $25,000 calculated at 5% is $1,250; and
  • $50,000 calculated at 7% is $3,500.

The amendment order also replaces most of the previous exceptions, keeping only the exception for domestic workers, whose fee is fixed at 1% of gross salary regardless of level. The exception for persons engaged in the performing arts has essentially been replaced by a general provision for temporary work permit fees, which are simply a proportionate percentage of the above calculation.

There is also now a set application fee of $50 for all work permits.

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For further information on this topic please contact Sheila George or Johann Henry at Harneys by telephone (+1 284 494 2233) or by email (sheila.george@harneys.com or johann.henry@harneys.com). The Harneys website can be accessed at www.harneys.com.