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How to get a work permit

If you hire a worker who is not a Bermudian or married to one, or someone who is not a Permanent Resident’s Certificate (PRC) holder, they will need a work permit to work in Bermuda.

There are various types of work permits depending on the type of work and the length of time the person will be working in Bermuda.

Requirements

Only an employer can apply for a work permit.  The employee can only enter the country to work after receiving permission. You cannot seek employment while visiting as a tourist.

In most cases, the main criterion in assessing whether or not to grant permission to work in Bermuda is whether there is a suitably qualified Bermudian, Spouse of a Bermudian or PRC holder who is interested in the job and available to do it.

Consequently, most work permit categories require employers to conduct a genuine search including advertising vacancies on www.bermudajobboard.bm and in the newspaper. Additionally, employers should take care to hire suitably qualified Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders who fulfil the minimum advertised requirements.

An employer who applies to hire a foreign national in a job for which there was a Bermudian, Spouse of a Bermudian or PRC holder applicant is required to give clear, satisfactory reasons for not employing the Bermudian, Spouse of a Bermudian or PRC holder.

The employer of the work permit holder who signs the application documentation is responsible for its contents. In accordance with the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (No. 2) Act 2013, this responsibility cannot be delegated.

Employers are required to inform all unsuccessful Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians and PRC holder candidates of the outcome of their application prior to submitting work permit applications to the Department of Immigration.

Employers may be asked to provide evidence of such notification to the Department. A letter or email to the unsuccessful applicant will suffice. The reason the applicant was unsuccessful need not be given in the notification. However, this information is required for the work permit application under the Recruitment Disclosure section.

It is important to note that although the Department of Immigration carefully scrutinises each application submitted by employers, the Department does not possess the power to force an employer to hire Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians, PRC holders or any particular person. The Department can only prevent the hiring of a foreign national by refusing to grant a work permit.

Responsibilities of the work permit holder

You must at all times, be mindful of and adhere to the conditions placed on your work permit and of the job responsibilities placed on your job description. You must also take note of the general information listed on the back page of your work permit document.

Also, if you must repatriate your dependants, you must honour this commitment and take immediate steps to ensure that when you departs Bermuda, your dependants will depart too unless the dependants have permission to reside and seek employment.

Requirement for English proficiency

Persons coming to work in Bermuda under the Portuguese Accord (“the Accord”) as well as those employed in the construction industry are required to have a working knowledge of the English language. This is to ensure that work is carried out in a safe manner.

You will not be allowed to work in the construction industry if your English language skills are deemed by the Minister to be inadequate to comply with health and safety standards. In cases where English language skills are questionable, you will be landed for seven days and may be required to undergo testing by the Department of Immigration. Failure may result in the person being asked to leave Bermuda. 

Work Permit Cards

Work permit cards are automatic by-products for applications for standard, global, new business, and periodic work permit holders, and to sponsored dependants. The card is to facilitate travel to/from Bermuda. In these cases, employers must submit a complete application form and the requisite documents and the fees for the work permit application and the work permit card.

A new work permit card will be issued under the following circumstances:

  • if the card has been lost, damaged or stolen;
  • if the employer’s name changes (where a person moves to a new employer; in a merger, the current work permit card should remain and be changed after it expires);
  • if the card holder’s name changes; and
  • when the card expires.

In cases where work permit holders and any sponsored dependants are already resident in Bermuda, a letter requesting a work permit card, including the fee of $151.00 for all persons to whom a card is to be issued, must be submitted by employers.

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