Senate: Illegal immigrants on hit list
By Owain Johnston-Barnes
Online “wanted posters” could soon be introduced to locate those in Bermuda illegally, according to Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs.
Speaking in the Senate today, Sen Fahy said: “The Department of Immigration is searching for at least one foreign national who is in Bermuda illegally.
“To this end, the department will be seeking the general public’s assistance.”
He stated that the “posters” would appear on the Department of Immigration website, usually when other avenues to find the suspects have been exhausted.
The initiative was one of several which Sen Fahy announced during yesterday’s session of the Senate after consultation and a series of information sessions with stakeholders such as the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, the Bermuda Employers Council and the Bermuda Hotel Association.
Sen Fahy also said that work permit applications would soon only be available online at the Department of Immigration website as part of a cost-saving initiative.
“Employers and applicants will be able to complete the forms online and print them for submission with all relevant documentation to complete the work permit application,” he said.
He added: “I would like to get to a space where people can fill it out and e-mail it in, but we’re not there yet.”
The application forms had previously been printed by the Bermuda Press Ltd.
Meanwhile, work permit cards will replace paper-based work permit paperwork, which is required to enter the Island.
Cards will be made available to all work permit holders, while paper documents will be issued for employers and the Department of Immigration’s files.
“Because the permits are paper-based, there has been a tendency for the permit to be folded excessively and/or damaged,” Sen Fahy said. “While some work permit-holders have taken the initiative to laminate their permits in an attempt to preserve them, permits that have been laminated have not been accepted by the Department of Immigration.”
He noted that the work permit cards would be larger than a credit card but slightly smaller than a passport page, and would feature a security foil and would be readable by passport readers.
As of March 1, existing and first-time work permit-holders can apply for a work permit card, with a fee of $145 for each work permit card issuance.
The Home Affairs Minister also announced a new business visitor line at LF Wade International Airport, which he said would help make Bermuda more business friendly.
“The idea is to facilitate these people and facilitate business in Bermuda so that they can quickly move through,” he said. “It’s something that they have been asking about for a long time.”
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