Press conference remarks by
Home Affairs Minister the Hon. Pat Gordon-Pamplin
January 26th, 2017
Good afternoon and thank you for coming.
This conference is in respect of today’s newspaper article concerning the response to a PATI request by the RG and a subsequent release issued by MP Walton Brown.
I would say upfront that the statement that the Department has granted 27 waivers for work permits for churches is misleading.
In my press conference of January 6th, I provided statistics for advertising of positions for the clergy for 2016 only. This information was taken from the Job Board. I also noted that in 2016 we received one waiver for that category of job; i.e. the clergy. In contrast, the applications in the PATI response dated back to, as early as, 2013. The information provided in the PATI request included all active applications submitted by churches for all job types including:
15 missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints;
and 7 positions that, either, were not required to be advertised or where there was an automatic exemption, such as a guest speaker and sound technicians for special events.
There were a total of six clergy that applied for a waiver of advertising and all six made proper application and paid the requisite fee.
It has been alleged by MP Brown that I misled you. It is unfortunate that he did not review the attachment like I did. I stated that we received one waiver in 2016 for a member of the clergy. We determined subsequently that the specific application referred to was received in 2015. However there was only one application listed; the Emmanuel Methodist Church for a Minister of Religion. That application, which was for a short-term permit, was approved administratively; i.e. by a Technical Officer which is aligned with the normal process for short-term work permits. The other 5 work permits for the clergy went to the Board.
In my press conference of December 28, I underscored the consideration respecting advertising policies that were put into effect in the new policies of 2014, and indicated that all positions must be advertised if they were offered to non-Bermudians. I also specifically pointed out my reference to S1.15 and S1.16 of the Work Permit Policy.
I indicated that the policy (meaning the WHOLE POLICY) applies to everyone – every individual, every company, every charity, every church. It is worth noting that every other denomination has complied with this requirement since the new policy was put in effect.
I reiterate, the Policy – meaning the ENTIRE policy of S1.15 and S1.16, applies to everyone.
For clarity, I will read both policies in total, to hopefully alleviate what may be perceived as misinformation on my part to the public.
1.15 Advertising Criteria
Employers are required to advertise available positions prior to applying for Short Term or Standard Work Permits (unless otherwise set out in this policy). The position must, at a minimum, be advertised three (3) times over a period of eight (8) days, in a local newspaper as well as, at a minimum, eight (8) consecutive days on the Government Job Board at www.bermudajobboard.bm . Each advertisement must include the following details:
- the title of the job being filled and the name, telephone number and mailing address of the employer;
- the title of the job being filled;
- clearly specify the minimum standards of qualification and experience;
- a brief description of the job to be filled which should be consistent with the normal functions associated with the job. An advertisement will be invalid if it contains a job description that appears to be tailor-made to fit a particular existing or potential work permit holder; and
- notice of the deadline for application.
The work permit application must be submitted within three (3) months of the date on which the position was last advertised in either the newspaper or the job board (which ever had the longest run date). However, in cases where the length of the recruitment process does not permit the employer to submit an application within three (3) months of the date the position was last advertised, employers may pay the Advertisement Extension Fee which will permit them to submit the application within six (6) months of the date on which the position was last advertised.
Should any advertised details change prior to the expiry of five (5) working days following the date of the last advertisement, the advertisement shall be invalid and the employer will be required to re-advertise the position. This is intended to allow sufficient time for Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians and PRC holders to apply.
1.16 Waivers of advertising
Upon request of the employer and upon payment of the requisite fee, the Board/Minister may waive the requirement to advertise a position where a Short Term or Standard Work Permit is being applied for. A waiver of advertising may be appropriate where:
- the person is uniquely qualified for the position; or
- the position would not exist in Bermuda if it were not for the applicant filling the job; or
- the success of the business would be detrimentally affected if the person were to leave the business (detrimentally affected means that jobs of Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders would be put at risk); or
- the employee is integral and key to income generation for the business by brokering deals or attracting/retaining clients or funds.
Each request for a waiver of advertising will be decided upon by its merits. The decision of the Board/Minister may be appealed to the Minister (see section 1.4) upon payment of the requisite fee.
Waivers are automatically granted in respect of:
- the post of CEO or other Chief Officer;
- the post of Resort Hotel General Manager at a hotel with greater than 175 beds;
- Periodic, Occasional, New Business, Global and Global Entrepreneur Work Permits;
- Permits granted pursuant to sections 7.3, 7.4 or 7.13 (subject to restrictions listed).
Where an employer demonstrates that it has Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders training abroad to gain international experience with the plan upon completion of a specified period not exceeding three (3) years to return to Bermuda, an employer may apply for an automatic waiver of advertising for guest workers that fall outside the aforementioned categories equal to the number of Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders being trained abroad for the same length of time in similar positions of employment. Such proof shall include the identity of the selected Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders training abroad as well as their respective statements of employment, training program details and company organizational chart. The Department reserves the right to request further information regarding the training of the Bermudians, Spouses of Bermudians or PRC holders.
Specifically, with respect to today’s response by the department to the PATI request, it appears from the newspaper article that the question was for ALL positions within the various churches. Notwithstanding that our press conference was in respect of a particular matter, the response to the PATI request, and further investigation of the responses shows clearly that Policy 1.16 WAS FULLY ADHERED TO, as applications were made and fees paid to request the waivers.
The other matter that was under consideration and was the subject of the previous press conference, did not comply with the policy within the prescribed time, but as that matter is now sub judice, I will make no further reference thereto.