Job categories for work permits

All jobs that are not categorised as closed, restricted or special are considered open category jobs.

Closed Category Jobs

Jobs include: Airline Ground Agent; Retail Floor Supervisor; General Labourer; Office Receptionist; Painter; Salesperson; Tourist Retail Salesperson; Taxi Driver; Wallpaper Technician; Grocery Packer; Cashier; and Courier.

Restricted Category Jobs

Jobs include: 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.

Special Category Jobs

Jobs 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.

Job categories with special conditions

The application process for job categories with special conditions is the same as that for the Open category, except the employer must ensure that they meet the additional requirements as specified below.

Child-Care Giver

Child-care givers often hold more than one work permit because they care for more than one child. A child-care giver is limited to the care of three children, a regulation set by the Ministry of Health. Therefore, work permit holders in this category will be limited to one permit for three children, one permit for two children, plus one permit for a third child, or three permits for one child per employer.

Child-care sharing arrangements will be considered on a case by case basis.

Beauty Salon, Spa and Hairdressing Staff

Contracts of employment for beauty salon, spa and hairdressing staff must include information relating to holiday and sick pay entitlements (i.e. if remuneration is by way of commission only the contract of employment must specify if the commission payments are inclusive or exclusive of holiday and sick pay entitlement).

Family Support

Those persons employed on Global, Global Entrepreneur, New Business Work Permits or who have been granted waivers of advertising, who personally employ household staff prior to relocating to Bermuda, will automatically be granted, after application, a Standard Work Permit for the staff to relocate to Bermuda and continue working for the same period of time as their primary employer. There is no need to advertise the positions. This is limited to nannies, in-house elderly and medical care personnel.

Should the sponsor family be required to leave Bermuda or make arrangements to relocate to another country, the household staff will also be required to leave unless they obtain specific permission from the Minister to find alternative employment (subject always to the requirement to deposit funds for repatriation with the Chief Immigration Officer pursuant to section 130 of the Act).

Fine Artist

A person does not require a permit to create a work of art, but only galleries are permitted to show and sell the work of artists who are not Bermudian, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders.

A gallery is defined as a permanent place of business whose purpose is to display and sell works of art. The definition can include a specialised department in a retail store. For the avoidance of doubt, a hotel that shows and sells paintings or other works of art does not fall within the definition of a gallery.

Galleries who wish to show and sell the work of a visiting artist must first inform the Department of Immigration by writing a letter giving the name of the artist, the duration of the person’s stay and by enclosing the required fee.

Where a resident artist wishes to sell their work of art, they must first obtain a Standard Work Permit but advertising for the position is not required. This is an exception to the general policy prohibiting self-employment. Each gallery that wishes to show and sell the work of an artist must satisfy itself that the artist in question is lawfully permitted to do so.

Graduate Trainee

Many companies, especially those with a global presence, have graduate training programmes where participants can opt to work in an overseas office for a period of time. Advertising for this position is not required.

The employer that has an established graduate training programme should write a letter of application to the Chief Immigration Officer identifying the graduate who will be coming to Bermuda as well as:

  • the job category and length of training in Bermuda for the graduate;
  • a completed Short Term Work Permit Application;
  • a copy of the foreign graduate’s employment agreement;
  • confirmation the graduate has medical insurance valid for Bermuda for the duration of their stay in Bermuda.

It is expected that participants in such programmes will not be taking the position of a qualified Bermudian, Spouse of Bermudian or PRC holder and that Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians and PRC holders should be given equal opportunity to participate in related programmes in the employer’s overseas offices.

Hospital Nurse and Physician

Once every three months, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is required to advertise for Bermudians. After each advertisement period, the Hospitals Board is required to submit quarterly reports to the Department on scheduled dates: 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December, detailing, for the previous three months, information about all nurses and physicians on staff, stating for each one whether the person is Bermudian.

Hospitality: Seasonal Work Permit

This work permit allows a hotel or restaurant to recruit seasonal workers for up to eight months during the period between 1 April and 30 November in any given year. Seasonal workers will receive vacation pay and health insurance benefits, according to the actual period of the Seasonal Work Permit.

Applications for a Seasonal Work Permit follow the same procedure as a Standard Work Permit.

Intern

A business may establish an exchange internship programme with a counterpart organisation overseas to allow the reciprocal exchange of overseas interns and Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holder interns for training purposes. Advertising for this position is not required.

The employer that has established an exchange internship programme should write a letter of application to the Chief Immigration Officer identifying the intern who will be coming to Bermuda as well as:

  • the job category and length of internship in Bermuda for the foreign intern;
  • the job category and length of internship of the Bermudian counterpart;
  • a completed Short Term Work Permit Application;
  • a copy of the foreign intern’s employment agreement; and
  • confirmation the intern has medical insurance valid for Bermuda for the duration of their stay in Bermuda.

The Department will issue a work permit in respect of the intern provided that the exchange programme clearly benefits Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders.

Live-In Domestic Employee (Private Home)

The employer of a live-in nanny/housekeeper is to pay all of the employee’s health insurance premiums, social insurance premiums and payroll tax as well as a wage equivalent of at least $10.00 an hour. Room and board must be calculated at $700.00 a month ($158.00 a week). The minimum weekly wage is calculated by converting the weekly periods of work into hours then multiplying the weekly hours by $10.00 to obtain the minimum, gross, weekly pay. The minimum weekly wage expected is the minimum, gross, weekly pay minus $158.00.

The period of notice of termination from either party is to be the same. One month is considered the shortest reasonable period of notice.

Locum Pharmacist and Shared Pharmacist

This work permit allows local pharmacies to share qualified pharmacist(s) where cover is required for short periods of time (i.e. three months or less, when either the pharmacist has to leave Bermuda and/or where no Bermudian pharmacists are available).

Each employer must obtain a work permit for the individual. The requisite fee must be submitted by each employer. An application may be made separately or jointly. An application that is submitted jointly by the employers may be advertised jointly provided the name of each employer appears in the advertisement and each employer provides a Statement of Employment.

As a member of the Bermuda Pharmacy Owners Association, each local pharmacy is allowed to apply for one Standard Work Permit for a pharmacist who is already engaged in employment in Bermuda. The application must have a letter from the current employer agreeing to the arrangement.

Model - Occasional Work Permit for Casual or Part-Time Employment

Applications will be considered for persons to be employed as a casual or part-time model for up to 100 hours in any 12-month period. The Occasional Work Permit, if granted, may enable the model to be employed on any project during the period of the Occasional Work Permit. Each application of this type is considered on its merits and it is not required to be advertised.

A model’s Occasional Work Permit does not confer the right to do voice-overs for television commercials. Separate Occasional Work Permits for voice-overs must be applied for, and, if granted, that permit may be more restrictive than for the employment of models.

Application for an Occasional Work Permit is by a covering letter specifying:

  • The name and immigration file number of the model or resident status;
  • The name of the employer responsible for the Occasional Work Permit; and
  • Efforts to employ Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders and the name(s) with contact information of employed Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians and PRC holders.

Musician or Entertainer

The initiatives of the Department of Tourism and/or the Tourism Authority and the passage of the Hotel Concession Act 2000 provide the framework for granting incentives for the hiring of local entertainers.

Work permits for foreign musicians/entertainers to perform at commercial locations open to the public (clubs, pubs and hotels) may be granted, provided that they are advertised in the normal way. The maximum period for a work permit in the entertainment industry will normally be a Seasonal Work Permit of eight months. However, where a one-off large, commercial entertainment event open to the public is to be held and foreign musicians/entertainers are to be utilised, qualified Bermudian(s), Spouse(s) of Bermudians and PRC holder(s) musician(s)/entertainer(s) of the same entertainment genre must feature in the entertainment event. Failure to feature qualified Bermudian(s), Spouse(s) of Bermudians or PRC holder(s) of the same genre will mean that work permits may not be granted.

Music School Teacher

Any teacher of music employed under a work permit by a school may take up paid employment, on a casual basis, for up to ten hours per week, as a performer or tutor outside the school’s teaching requirements with the permission of the employer.

Teachers who perform on an unpaid voluntary basis (e.g. weddings, receptions, private parties, Philharmonic Society concerts, musical theatrical productions and similar one-off or short-term engagements) have the Minister’s tacit permission to undertake such work. Voluntary performances by teachers do not count against the weekly ten hours allowance for paid employment.

However, if the teacher is performing either solo or with a group on a regular part time basis, the place of business (i.e., churches, hotels, restaurants, pubs or bars) must obtain a work permit to hire the teacher in such capacity.

Occasional Work Permit for Casual or Part-Time Employment

A work permit under this section allows a person, who is already resident in Bermuda, to work in any category of work (e.g. instructor, tutor, fine artist) on a casual or part time basis provided the amount of work done is no more than nine hours a week. A work permit may be granted for up to one year.

To obtain a work permit under this section, a person must submit a work permit application. Applications can be made for more than one employer to hire the same instructor or private tutor for less than nine hours each but the total hours for all employers cannot exceed nine hours per week. Such an arrangement is permitted provided each employer has a separate part-time permit.

Photographer

Photographers approved to work (subject to any restrictions listed above) will be limited to those who are:

  • Journalists;
  • Working for overseas print or motion picture media publications;
  • Working for overseas clients such as advertisers wishing to use Bermuda as a backdrop;
  • Specialists in photography including architectural, food, aerial, medical, motion picture, digital or video;
  • Working for an international hotel group including those working on behalf of a convention client for the purpose of photographing their event; or
  • Working at a private wedding event.

Restaurant Staff

Contracts of employment for restaurant staff applications must include clear information relating to the minimum weekly remuneration for restaurant staff.

Self-Employed Person and Part Owner of a Bermuda Business

Self-employment is not normally permitted. The Department of Immigration defines self-employment as providing leadership and labour to a business in which the self-employed person makes final decisions on its operation and is the principal beneficiary of the business. Part ownership in a local business does not confer any right to work.

For part owners to obtain permission, the applicant must apply for permission in the normal way. Permission is likely to be granted based on the strength of the application giving consideration to:

  • the character of the applicant and, where relevant, of his or her spouse;
  • the existing and likely economic situation of Bermuda;
  • the availability of the services of local companies and persons already residing in Bermuda;
  • the protection of local interests;
  • the requirements of the community as a whole.

Where the industry is new, part owners are more likely to be encouraged, especially where the enterprise creates a new source of quality employment for Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians and PRC holders and there is a clear and demonstrable benefit to Bermuda and the local workforce. If there is no obvious benefit to Bermuda, the part owner is unlikely to obtain permission to work. This is particularly true in situations where the applicant is in partnership with one or more Bermudians whose involvement or employment with the business is not bona fide and significant. This policy applies only to local businesses. Exempted companies may be owned and managed by foreign nationals.

Categories of jobs with large numbers of work permits

The National Training Plan calls for employers to play a key role in ensuring that Bermudians and Spouses of Bermudians are developed and employed in specific occupations which have a high number of work permit holders.

The following occupations have been identified as having a large number of work permit holders and are subject to change:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Qualified Accountant
  • Waiter/ Waitress
  • Mason
  • Landscape Gardener
  • Chef

Employers who employ more than ten work permit holders in the occupations listed above may be invited by the Department of Workforce Development and/or the Department of Immigration to participate in initiatives led by the National Training Board to boost the number of Bermudians and Spouses of Bermudians employed in these job categories.

Employer participation will be considered by the Board and the Minister when considering work permit applications.                                             

Consulting with Statutory Body Regulating Profession

Certain job categories require a statutory body to be consulted.

The Minister shall consult with the statutory body that regulates matters dealt with by that profession.

Those bodies are:

1. Allied Health Professions Council

2. Bermuda Architects’ Registration Council

3. Bermuda Bar Council

4. Bermuda Clinical Social Work Council

5. Bermuda Dental Board

6. Bermuda Medical Council

7. Bermuda Nursing Council

8. Bermuda Pharmacy Council

9. Bermuda Psychologists’ Registration Council

10. Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda

11. Optometrists and Opticians Council

12. Professional Engineers’ Registration Council

13. Professional Surveyors’ Registration Council

14. Veterinary Practitioners Council

To ensure prompt processing of applications, employers are strongly encouraged to send applications directly to the respective statutory council concurrently with the submission of their application to the Department. The statutory council is expected to review the qualifications and experience of the applicant and determine their eligibility to work in Bermuda.

For the avoidance of any doubt, restraint of trade is not considered by the Minister to be a valid reason for a statutory council to oppose the approval of immigration applications. The Minister expects a response in writing from the respective statutory council within ten working days of receipt of the application from an employer failing which the Minister may not consider the submissions in coming to a decision. The Minister shall consider requests for extensions of time from statutory councils to review applications in extenuating circumstances. 

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