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   Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 U.S.V.I. Business & Career Guide    

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HIRING LOCALLY--Key Requirement For Industries Participating In The Virgin Islands' Industrial Development Programs
by VIBusiness Staff

Carmelo Rivera, Management & HR Consultant
Carmelo Rivera, Management & HR Consultant
     The Virgin Islands Industrial Development Program (IDC) was established as a mechanism to promote economic development and the employment of local residents. The IDC strategy is clearcut, in exchange for certain tax exemptions and benefits, industrial development beneficiaries must hire 80% residents and provide job training. IDC Beneficiaries are also expected to contribute to a Territorial Scholarship Fund. These requirements are outlined in the following policy statements:
     Any person who is capable of doing the job, who is either a citizen of the United States or an immigrant alien admitted to the United States for permanent residence, who has resided in the Virgin Islands for at least one year. At least 80% of the IDC beneficiary's workforce must be resident workers.
      2. NONRESIDENT WORKER - DEFINITION Any other worker is a nonresident worker.
      If the IDC beneficiary must employ a nonresident, he or she must submit the following information to the Commissioner of Labor for review-
      1) a specification of the number of nonresident workers required;
      2) the occupational classifications of these employees; and
      3) the wage rates for these employees.
      The Commissioner must assist the beneficiary to recruit resident workers. He or she must also promptly notify the labor unions and publicize the vacancy at the beneficiary's expense.
      The beneficiary can only hire a nonresident if he can show that-
      1) the hiring of that person would not cause the total number of resident employees in that business to fall below eighty percent (80%); and
      2) the Department of Labor certifies that the beneficiary sought their assistance in filling the vacancy and that they were unable to refer qualified applicants within ten (I 0) days after their assistance was requested.
      When hiring nonresidents, the beneficiary must agree to establish and conduct occupational training programs to train residents to fill the positions held by nonresidents, and must submit a comprehensive plan to the Commissioner of Labor for approval. Once approved, the Commissioner will monitor the program.
      Alternatively, the beneficiary may agree to subsidize the cost of training pre-selected resident employee applicants in a school or other facility not run by him. This training must be maintained or subsidized by the beneficiary for as long as any person who is not a resident of the Virgin Islands is employed by him. Employees that engaged in such training program must be paid at least the minimum wage as trainees and apprentices, as prescribed by law.
      In lieu of a training program, the beneficiary can choose to pay $2,500 annually to the Territorial Scholarship Fund for each nonresident employed.
      All beneficiaries hiring nonresident workers must annually prepare and file with the Commissioner of Labor, a complete roster of all nonresident workers with a detailed description of the positions held by them.
      The Commissioner of Labor is responsible for investigating allegations of discrimination in employment or denial of employment by beneficiaries, or their contractors or agents. Where necessary, the Commissioner will hold a hearing after giving notice. Where discrimination is found, the Commissioner must notify IDC who will revoke the beneficiary's certificate without need for future proceedings.
      This article is intended as general advice not as legal advice. You are encouraged to read the actual law and the documents produced by the respective government agencies. For more information contact the Department of Labor at (340) 776-3700 or the Industrial Development Commission at (340) 773-6499.

HOVENSA Contractor, Bechtel International -- Demonstrates Commitment to Workforce Development
   The HOVENSA-Bechtel training was designed to increase the chances of employment for residents of the Virgin Islands. Already more than 250 individuals on St. Croix have enrolled in the crafts training in welding, pipefitting, electrical, millwright, civil, and instrumentation crafts in preparation for the building of the Coker Plant at the HOVENSA Refinery. The Training Program, valued at $4000 per trainee, is free to eligible applicants.
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   Effective planning and consulting with a management & human resources expert can help prevent many of the headaches and high costs of lawsuits, penalties and back wage payments.
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HIRING LOCALLY--Key Requirement For Industries Participating In The Virgin Islands' Industrial Development Programs Carmelo Rivera, Management & HR Consultant
   The IDC strategy is unmistakably clear--in exchange for certain tax exemptions and benefits, industrial beneficiaries must hire at least 80% residents and provide job training. IDC beneficiaries are also expected to contribute to a Territorial Scholarship Fund.
Click here for More...