Remarks by Minister, the Hon. Wayne Caines, JP, MP
Good afternoon everyone,
We are here today to update the public on the proposed changes to work permit policies which begins with assessing jobs currently listed in the closed, restricted, special and open job categories. This government recognizes the importance of including every member of our community in the decision making process. To that end, we are asking for your feedback on the proposed changes.
Before I go into the details, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Dannette Ming, Chief Immigration Officer from the Department of Immigration and thank her for participating here this afternoon.
In government’s speech from the throne, we pledged to make our immigration laws better reflect our mandate of putting Bermudians first. This includes ensuring that Bermudians can secure employment in their own country.
To achieve this objective, I tasked the Department of Immigration with making improvements to our Work Permit Policies to strike the right balance between the legitimate expectations of Bermudians and the legitimate labour needs of businesses.
With this in mind, the positions currently found in the closed category, for which work permit applications are not permitted are: Airline Ground Agent; Retail Floor Supervisor; General Labourer; Office Receptionist; Painter; Salesperson; Tourist Retail Salesperson; Taxi Driver; Wallpaper Technician; Grocery Packer; Cashier; and Courier.
In the restricted category, work permit applications for these jobs will be carefully considered and may not result in approval of a work permit.
In addition, jobs in this category must be referred to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) so that suitable qualified Bermudian who are registered at DWD can be referred to employers. It is expected that any referrals to employers will be seriously considered for employment in the relevant job.
The positions currently found in the restricted category are: Bank Teller; General Bartender (customer facing); Carpet Installer; Commercial Cleaner; Entertainer/Musician; Fisherman; Photographer; Technical Salesperson; Travel Agent/Consultant; General Carpenter; Administrative Assistant; Room Attendant; Kitchen Porter; Dish/Pot Washer/Kitchen Assistants or roles similar thereto; Landscape Gardener (Entry Level); General Mason.
In contrast to the closed and restricted categories, work permit applications in the special category are positions which include: Child-Care Giver; Beauty Salon, Spa and Hairdressing Staff; Family Support; Fine Artist; Graduate Trainees; Hospital Nurse and Physician; Hospitality: Seasonal Work Permit; Interns; Live-In Domestic Employees (Private Home); Locum Pharmacist and Shared Pharmacists; Occasional Work Permit: Model and Casual or Part-Time Employment; Musician or Entertainer; Music School Teacher; Photographer; Restaurant Staff; Self-Employed Persons and Part Owners of a Bermuda Business; Categories of Jobs Identified by the Minister where there are Large Numbers of Work Permits.
Finally, positions not listed in the closed, restricted or special categories are considered open category jobs and work permit applications may be applied for.
It is hoped that any changes made will assist with skills enhancement, employment, and training and development opportunities for Bermudians who may be unemployed, under-employed or who are looking to make a career change.
Before proceeding with any proposed changes, the government would like to have your feedback.
The public are invited to send written concerns and/or comments regarding which jobs should or should not be in the Closed, Restricted, Special and Open job categories, with the reasons why, by visiting the Citizen’s Forum at www.forum.gov.bm, before 14 May, 2019.
Any decision made will affect all of us, and so it is of the upmost importance that everyone be given the opportunity, and follow through with voicing their opinion, concerns, or feedback on this most important issue.
In addition to addressing the work permit policies, the Department of Immigration is working on many other initiatives that will address long standing and/or sensitive immigration issues.
Government will continue to keep the public updated on developments and involved in the process by periodically requesting feedback via the Citizens Forum. Again the website address for this is www.forum.gov.bm.
The public can also keep abreast of information and announcements by downloading government’s new Tree Frog app, available for free from the Apple and Google Play store.