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More than 40 jobs added to immigration closed list

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“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

4. Fisherman

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

13. Handyman

14. Reporters/Journalists

15.HR Officer/Manager

16. Recruiter

17. Customer Car/Service Rep

18. Seasonal Work Permits

19. Interns

20. Carpet Installer

21. Entertainer/Musician

22. Technician salesperson

23. General Carpenter

24. Landscape Gardener (entry level)

25. Photographer

26. Waiter/Server

27. Personal/Executive Assistant

28. Barber

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

37. Librarian

38. Public Relations officer

39. Child care assistant

40. Electrician

41. Plumber

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

5. Painter

6. Salesperson

7. Tourist Retail Salesperson

8. Taxi Driver

9. Wallpaper Technician

10. Grocery Packer

11. Cashier

12. Courier

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Published November 02, 2020 at 3:51 pm (Updated November 02, 2020 at 8:16 pm)

More than 40 jobs added to immigration closed list

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