Michael Weeks: Leveraging Immigration Policies and Initiatives to Support Bermuda

 Michael Weeks: Leveraging Immigration Policies and Initiatives to Support Bermuda

Without much warning, the pandemic steered Bermuda into an unprecedented downward slide which led to:

● Enforcement of shelter in place;
● Shutting down of Bermuda’s borders;
● An unforgiving blow to the hospitality industry with well over a thousand workers being
forced to shelter at home without pay;
● Hundreds of contract workers in many key industries forced to return home; and
● Masks, hand-washing and social distancing becoming the expected new normal.

It is clear that this Government has demonstrated the kind of leadership needed to keep the island safe while ensuring the population received the support it required.

In an effort to retain and protect the local population while attracting investors and visitors, the Ministry of Labour has been quick to react, leveraging immigration policies and initiatives to support Bermuda during these very challenging times. The Ministry of Labour has:

▪ Placed a moratorium on 41 additional occupations (for a total of 53) in Nov 2020 which has been extended through to January 2022 for new work permits ONLY;

▪ Implementation of the Work From Bermuda programme which has seen a $23m impact on the economy – with approx. 640 certificate holders resident in Bermuda;
▪ Removal of the requirement for an Affidavit for Domicile – for applications for Bermudian Status;
▪ Implementation of the Economic Investment Certificate and Residential Certificate;
▪ Scrutinized Work Permits to ensure capable and qualified Bermudians are not passed over
for Job opportunities;
▪ Enhanced visitor stays by increasing the number of days from 90 to 180 that visitor can
reside in Bermuda; and
▪ Amended the eligibility requirement for Permanent Resident’s Certificates enabling
long-term residents to be granted a Permanent Resident’s Certificate.

Despite the progressive work that has been done. There is still more work to be done. The Minister has outlined Immigration Reform Strategic Priorities that will bring about the changes required to modernise the Country’s Immigration laws and supporting policies and create operational efficiencies through process improvement.

Photo courtesy of The RG
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Trevor Lindsay

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