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Work-permit and immigration reforms planned

The work-permit policy is to be updated (File image)

The Government plans to automate the work-permit application process and revise restricted job categories to attract new residents to the island.

The proposals were outlined in Strategic Priority 5: Investing in People of the Economic Development Strategy, which was released by the Ministry of Economy and Labour this week.

It said: “The Government is clear that Bermuda must find ways to retain its current workforce and residential population and develop an environment that welcomes new entrants into the economy.”

The section on attracting new residents outlined how the Government would make amendments to the work-permit policy. It also discussed expediting work-permit processing for high-demand, globally competitive occupations and renewals.

Additionally, it will look to change the eligibility criteria for spouses of work-permit holders to reside and seek employment in Bermuda, and create standardised labour force MOUs for all major development projects.

As a means of encouraging investment in businesses by non-Bermudians, there is a plan to amend company registration requirements to reduce red tape.

It will also allow permanent residents to be considered “qualifying persons” regarding local business ownership and promote the Global Entrepreneur Work Permit and engage former residents and business leaders as potential sources of new capital.

To improve immigration processes, the Immigration Board will be reformed to be an independent advisory structure with the purpose of setting high-level policy directions and advising the Government on immigration reforms.

There will be scheduled policy reviews to “define and track relevant indicators that can be incorporated into monitoring and evaluation”. The strategy said: “Such an evaluation should include a process evaluation and impact evaluation. This work will be at the direction of the Board of Immigration.”

In an effort to retain those living and working on the island, there will be amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act to lower the eligibility requirements for individuals to obtain Permanent Resident Certificates.

Additionally, there will be amendments to the Job Makers Act with the aim of developing a points system for Job Makers company concession applications.

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Published August 10, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated August 10, 2023 at 7:43 am)

Work-permit and immigration reforms planned

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