Work Permits and Requalification

Unlike most other UK Overseas Territories, lawyers must have an England & Wales qualification to practice BVI law. Any other commonwealth qualification on its own is not sufficient. You will also need to have amassed three years of relevant PQE.

All foreigner nationals wishing to live and work in the BVI require a permit. Spouses do have the right to reside in the BVI but must obtain their own work permits. Unmarried partners have no right to reside.

Permits are valid for one year and are re-applied for on an annual basis. Your new employer is responsible for paying the (high) work permit fee.

The work permit form consists of four documents to be completed by both the employee and the employer. In addition to the forms, your employer must concurrently submit the following:
- 2 passport photos
- A CV
- A certified copy of the photo and signature page of your passport
- Certified copies of academic transcripts and professional qualifications
- One professional reference on company letterhead
- One character reference written by a professional person or academic that has known the individual for at least five years
- A copy of the employer’s trade licence
- The job description of the vacancy being filled
- A copy of the newspaper recruitment advertisement

The work permit application is initially vetted by the Labour Department. If the permit is approved, it is then sent to the Immigration Department where the average processing time is 7-10 working days.