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Alleged work permit violation at Grotto Bay investigated

Immigration officers are investigating an alleged work permit violation at Grotto Bay Beach Resort, following the arrival of a group of overseas workers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement yesterday that Department of Immigration inspectors visited the Hamilton Parish hotel earlier, to investigate an “immigration violation complaint”.

The statement said it would be premature for Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy to provide further comment specifically on Grotto Bay as “the matter is still in its investigation stages”.

But in relation to overall enforcement efforts, Senator Fahy was quoted as saying: “Employers should be aware that as we move forward with our work permit reforms the enforcement component will be strengthened.

“The Immigration and Protection Act 1956 places a burden on employers to verify the status of a prospective employee and to ensure that unauthorised guest workers are not hired.”

The statement said an effective work site enforcement strategy would be implemented to address both employers who knowingly hire unauthorised workers and workers who are performing duties outside of conditions prescribed by their work permit.

“Investigations will also involve egregious violations of criminal statutes by employers and widespread abuses such as harbouring, fraud or worker exploitation.”

Senator Fahy added: “Essentially, the public can expect a new get-tough approach towards work permit violators and employers who knowingly contravene the Act.”

A hotel employee, who asked not to be named, told

The Royal Gazette that two officers visited the resort and asked questions about five interior designers from Canada.

“They came in and watched and checked out what the guys were doing,” said the employee. “The interior designers — there were five of them and they came in on an inclusive package, like they were guests.”

Grotto Bay general manager JP Martens confirmed that the Department of Immigration had attended.

He added: “Since this matter is currently in the hands of the Department of Immigration, I refrain from making any further statements.”

Useful website: www.grottobay.com

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Published April 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 04, 2013 at 12:26 am)

Alleged work permit violation at Grotto Bay investigated

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