Premier speaks of term limit changes and permanent residency after five years for some ‘job creators’
As international business continues to insist on the complete abolition of term limits for the sector, some non-Bermudian employers will be eligible for a Permanent Residence Certificate in five years instead of ten.
And Government will soon exempt certain job categories from term limits.
At the annual general meeting of the Association of Bermuda International Companies yesterday, Premier Paula Cox outlined Government’s job creation incentives for the private sector as contained in the Throne Speech.
“You will soon hear further from [Economy, Trade and Industry] Minister [Patrice] Minors about the changes in policy that will introduce job categories that will be automatically exempt from term limits,” Ms Cox said.
She reiterated her Throne Speech promise to exempt certain “job creators” of the need for work permits and offer them permanent residence. A bill will be tabled in Parliament this session, she said.
“There are a number of employers that have already demonstrated their long-term commitment to invest in Bermuda and Bermudians and we intend to reward their commitment by reducing the period of eligibility for [a] permanent residence certificate to five years as opposed to the ten years that would be required for any new investor,” she told the lunchtime gathering.
The Premier also informed her audience that Government had very recently provided “fast-track work permit assistance” to a new company which planned to create at least 15 new jobs and attract $500 million in assets to Bermuda.
“This is a very positive instance of the rapid success we’ve had with our ‘less red tape, more red carpet’ approach,” she said.
Earlier, ABIC chairman George Hutchings reported that while there were some differences in opinion between the Association and Government, healthy dialogue had continued.
On work permits, he said: “We operate in the ‘now’ environment, and any decisions require fairly immediate turnaround. Certainly, international business does not expect a 24-hour turnaround for work permits, but we do expect it to be reasonable and it can’t be slow. Our hope is that the department will be structured in such a way to foster a customer-friendly approach with a sense of co-operative urgency.”
Mr Hutchings went on to say that while his sector was happy with the introduction of ten-year work permits, ABIC was of the view that work permits and term limits should be abolished altogether.
“This is certainly a case where we presently disagree,” he said .”But I would hope that this topic will remain part of our continuing dialogue. The door at either end of the hall should remain open.”