Ten-year work permits will be issued this month

Ten-year work permits will start to be issued by the Department of Immigration this month, according to Business Bermuda chief executive officer Cheryl Packwood.

She said Economy Minister Kim Wilson told an Economic Roundtable Meeting on Wednesday that the permits would initially be granted to the international business sector. In an e-mail to Business Bermuda members on Friday, Ms Packwood wrote: “It was made known that ten-year work permits would be implemented in the next four weeks with an initial roll-out to the international business community. “Minister Wilson stated clearly that the ten-year work permit would be applicable to only those individuals who are deemed ‘key’ to the operation of the business; in other words, those companies whose continued success is dependent upon retaining such persons.”

The ten-year permits were announced by Senator Wilson in April when she said they would create a “win-win situation” for Government, businesses and the people of Bermuda. The Minister promised the new permit would become a reality “in the coming months”, adding that it would give international businesses greater long-term security and make Bermuda more attractive.

In July, Premier Paula Cox announced that some jobs would automatically become eligible for a ten-year work permit and some key workers who had been here for more than a decade would be able to get permanent residency for themselves, their spouses and their children.

Ms Packwood said last night there were “no surprises” at the meeting on Wednesday, as the ten-year work permits had been expected for some time. She said the Minister made clear they’d been granted only to those who were essential to the continued operation of a company.

The Business Bermuda CEO said the meeting heard from Bermuda Hotel Association, which asked why the ten-year permits were not being rolled out initially in that industry too. She said they asked: “Why are you differentiating?” There was also discussion about term limits, she said, with the Minister reiterating that they were Progressive Labour Party policy. It wasn’t possible to reach Sen Wilson or anyone from her Ministry last night.

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Published Oct 3, 2011 at 8:48 am (Updated Oct 3, 2011 at 8:48 am)

Ten-year work permits will be issued this month

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