More than 40 jobs added to immigration closed list
“Unprecedented” unemployment in the island’s “worst jobs crisis in modern times” stands at double 2019 levels, the labour minister warned yesterday.
Jason Hayward said further losses were expected with “large scale redundancies in hospitality and financial services” as well as job contractions in retail over coming months.
He was speaking as 41 new job categories were added to the existing 12-strong closed category list for immigration.
Mr Hayward said: “As Bermuda enters its winter period, which is normally a time when employment levels decline, it’s clear that additional measures are required.”
He added training for jobless Bermudians was the major priority in the landscaping, cleaning and restaurant sector.
Mr Hayward said his ministry had “partnered with employment agencies who have agreed to host a national working initiative in order to support professionals who have found themselves displaced from the workforce”.
He added that included a meeting with Chartered Professional Accountants Bermuda to “promote and support a greater volume of Bermudians obtaining accountancy certifications”.
The Government said the expansion of the closed category list was “immediate”.
Mr Hayward added the block, to last until the end of April next year, would not hit the renewal of existing work permits.
He said: “The Government acknowledges that there will always be a need for non-Bermudian workers in Bermuda and we value their contributions.
“However, when faced with this kind of job crisis – the worst in recent history – getting Bermudians back to work is the priority.”
Stephen Todd, the chief executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association, welcomed the move.
Mr Todd said he saw the list of closed categories, which included a variety of hotel sector jobs, as “an opportunity for Bermudians to grasp hospitality and the hotel sector, not just from an employment standpoint, but building a career”.
He added a traditional difficulty was that hotel jobs were seen as “a last resort” by Bermudians.
Mr Todd said: “These have been positions where we have historically had challenges retaining Bermudians.”
He added the Bermuda Hotel Association had been in talks with Mr Hayward, along with the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Workforce Development, in a “collective” effort to find hospitality and hotel jobs for displaced Bermudians.
He said Mr Hayward had told them specific job categories were being considered for closure.
Mr Todd said the BHA was “pleased” that work permit renewals would be spared, which would “strike the required balance” and maintain service standards for guests.
The Chamber of Commerce, the Bemuda Employers’ Council and the Bermuda Industrial Union did not respond to requests for comment.
The newly closed job categories were:
1. Bank Teller
2. General Bartender
3. Commercial Cleaner
5. Travel Agent/Consultant
6. Administrative Assistant
7. Room Attendant
8. Kitchen Porter
9. Dish/Pot Washer
10. Kitchen Assistant (or similar)
11. Tennis Instructors
12. Golf Instructors
17. Customer Car/Service Rep
18. Seasonal Work Permits
20. Carpet Installer
22. Technician salesperson
23. General Carpenter
24. Landscape Gardener (entry level)
27. Personal/Executive Assistant
29. Senior Clerk
30. Warehouse Clerk
31. Security guard
32. Laundry Attendant
33. Real estate agent
34. Teaching Aide
35. Para professional
36. Legal executive
38. Public Relations officer
39. Child care assistant
Jobs already in the closed category, which will remain unchanged, are:
1. Airline Ground Agent
2. Retail Floor Supervisor
3. General Labourer
4. Office Receptionist
7. Tourist Retail Salesperson
8. Taxi Driver
9. Wallpaper Technician
10. Grocery Packer