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Bermuda permanent residency requirements to be changed

Jason Hayward, centre, the Minister of Economy and Labour, was flanked by ministerial colleagues, from left, Michael Weeks, Walter Roban, Diallo Rabain and Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch yesterday as he unveiled the economic development strategy for Bermuda (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

The Government is set to lower eligibility requirements for individuals to obtain Permanent Resident’s Certificates, it said yesterday as it released its economic development strategy to cover the next four years.

Increasing Bermuda’s working population is one of the key initiatives of the new strategy.

The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act will have to be amended to alter PRC eligibility.

The strategy document also calls for amendments to the Jobs Makers Act, amendments to work-permit policy — and reform of the Immigration Board to be an independent advisory structure, the purpose of which is to set high-level policy directions and advise the Government on immigration reforms.

The document says: “In addition to ensuring that every able-bodied Bermudian has an opportunity to participate in the workforce, the Government will utilise net immigration as one of its solutions to ensure that there is enough labour to support Bermuda’s ageing population and growing economy.

“Bermuda must utilise immigration as a lever for greater economic activity and sustainable workforce.

“Barriers that prohibit immigrants from fully participating in the Bermudian economy must be reviewed and removed where practical and possible. There are clear economic development impacts of immigration.”

It added: “Bermuda needs to create an environment that allows immigrants to flourish in the workforce, invest in the economy and create jobs through entrepreneurship and business investment. The Government is clear that Bermuda must find ways to retain its current workforce and residential population as well as develop an environment that welcomes new entrants into the economy.”

The Government is also intent on discovering why Bermudians have left the island to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The document says: “Bermuda must promote stability, education and employment opportunities and reduce the drivers of forced migration.”

It says the Government will commission research to better understand what motivated emigrants to leave — and what would entice them to return.

This could include interviews, focus-group discussions and surveys.

The Government said it will develop targeted programmes for retaining and attracting repatriated workers, keep track of persons in school abroad, liaise with industry partners to identify jobs and pair interested persons with businesses in Bermuda and provide incentives and repatriation support for those who return and work in Bermuda.

Also in the 63-page strategy document:

• The Government will provide $15 million over the next three years to build more affordable public housing units

• The Government will seek to expand the eligibility for approved residential schemes from solely the economic empowerment zones to the entire City of Hamilton

• An Integrated Agriculture Strategy will assist with increasing domestic food production and also aims to increase the agricultural sector’s contribution to Bermuda’s GDP

• Establishment of a working group to execute Bermuda’s Climate Risk Finance Strategy

• Creation of a National Workforce Development Advisory Board

• Creation of a National Certification and Apprenticeship Board

• Expanding the North East Hamilton Economic Empowerment Zone to South East Hamilton

• Execution of the Blue Ocean Prosperity Plan

• Developing a sub-sea telecommunications corridor

• Developing an entrepreneurship policy framework that includes formulating a national entrepreneurship strategy

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, said the strategy was produced in collaboration with the newly formed economic development advisory board, which Mr Hayward said will provide his ministry with strategic guidance on implementation of the strategy and will set key performance indicators and regularly monitor and evaluate the progress of strategic economic priorities.

He added: “The tracking and reporting of metrics that assess the effectiveness of this plan and initiatives outlined in the strategy will be ongoing.”

• See under related media for the full strategy document.

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Published June 16, 2023 at 10:04 am (Updated June 16, 2023 at 10:30 am)

Bermuda permanent residency requirements to be changed

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