Land licences netted $1.3m, law to be reversed – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Land licences netted $1.3m, law to be reversed

Government raked in more than $1.3 million issuing land licences to under a law which is set to be reversed.

The National Security Ministry yesterday said 955 licences were obtained between June 2007 and the end of 2011 as part of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act.

A spokesman said the high number of licences reflected the large amount of land owned by foreigners.

“This is indicative of just how much Bermudian land has elements of foreign ownership,” he said.

“In some ways this illustrates the importance of the 2007 Act. We needed to properly safeguard the interests of Bermudians seeking to own their own homes against the background of significant foreign involvement in the local real estate market.”

Government says 37 percent of Bermuda's land is owned by non-Bermudians, which is greater than the statutory limit. More policies on land holding are said to be in the pipeline.

Bermudians married to non-Bermudians have complained they're discriminated against by the 2007 ruling, which required them to get a licence to buy property as part of a crackdown on fronting, the practice of foreigners gaining an unlawful interest in land by using a local as a front.

Minister Wayne Perinchief announced last week that the law will now be reversed, but that there will be no refund for those who already bought licences.

Licences cost $1,375 each, giving Government a total $1.31 million, which has gone into the Consolidated Fund. Campaigner Ronnie Viera has pointed out couples had to fork out legal fees in addition to buying the licence.

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Published February 22, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated February 22, 2012 at 8:52 am)

Land licences netted $1.3m, law to be reversed

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