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Illegal worker removed from site, says Fahy

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Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown

A foreign national working without a permit has been removed from a work site, according to Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy.

The minister said the action was the result of information passed on by shadow minister for Immigration Walton Brown, who yesterday called for the employer to be banned from securing work permits in the future.

“My investigations have revealed that this company has routinely brought in workers ostensibly as visitors for three months, have them leave for a short period and then bring them back to the island,” he said.

“This is a flagrant and arrogant violation.

“We will continue to investigate other complaints that reach us and pass on the information to the Department of Immigration.”

A Bermuda Government statement said: “On May 4, 2015, compliance officers from the Department of Immigration attended a construction site following a complaint made to the shadow minister of Immigration, MP Walton Brown by a member of the public who subsequently passed the information directly to the minister, that a person was on site working without a work permit.

“Based on the information provided to MP Brown and shared with the minister, an illegal worker was detained.”

Sen Fahy added: “I have said repeatedly to the public that if you have information about people working illegally, then it is important the information is shared.

“It is acted upon immediately as was demonstrated in this particular case.

“Despite differences of opinion we may have, I am grateful that MP Brown acted and provided helpful information.

“The Department of Immigration will continue to act on accurate information.

“We have all heard stories of people working illegally, but the Department of Immigration can and will act if suspected infringements are reported properly.

“I take the opportunity to remind employers of their duty to ensure their employees are in possession of a valid work permit.

“The penalties are severe for failure, including civil and criminal penalties. The Chief Immigration Officer is currently processing a number of civil penalty cases, which indicates the system is working. Again, I urge the public to follow MP Brown’s example by sharing what you know.”

The Progressive Labour Party also commended Mr Brown for his actions with a spokesman for the party saying: “Every time a non-Bermudian works illegally on a job site or at a company, it means that one less capable, qualified Bermudian has the opportunity to earn a living, support their family and contribute to our economy.

“That is unacceptable at any time, but particularly now during the worst jobs crisis in Bermuda’s history. Exposing this or any other cases of immigration lawbreaking must be a priority for each of us.”

The spokesman also said the incident demonstrates that the existing penalties are not a sufficient deterrent, adding: “That’s why our position is that current penalties must be strengthened to ensure that anyone who wilfully denies Bermudians a job in favour of an illegal worker faces the full weight of the law and not just an inconvenient slap on the wrist.”

Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy