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Business visitors to get own airport immigration line

Business visitors attending meetings here will soon have a separate line when they go through Immigration, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said yesterday.

And the requirement to carry a paper work permit on arrival at the airport may soon be a thing of the past.

In a statement updating the Senate on Immigration procedures at the airport, the Minister said that he had been encouraged by positive feedback from the business community on the level of service from Customs and Immigration.

“Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to meet with the management teams as well as more recently the frontline officers in an effort to generate dialogue with respect to how we can collectively continue to improve,” he said.

“The ideas and suggestions were thoughtful and based on first-hand experience. I very much appreciated the opportunity to engage all of the officers and look forward to implementing many of the suggestions such as a business visitors’ line for persons attending meetings in Bermuda that do not require a work permit and other progressive ideas that will assist with reinforcing that Bermuda is open for business.”

He added that the Immigration Department is exploring alternatives to requiring work permit holders and their spouses to carry paper documents when they return to the Island.

“I can confirm that both card and systems solutions are being actively explored, subject of course to budget constraints.”

He added: “Meanwhile, passengers arriving in Bermuda either as returning residents, working visitors or business visitors without a work permit in hand will be referred to the Airport Immigration Office which is located in a segregated area behind the Customs Arrivals desk.”

Sen Fahy added that the referral area is better equipped to facilitate entry of undocumented passengers.

“The Customs Officers who do the initial processing are not equipped with immigration systems access at the initial point of entry and hence the reason for the referral to the secondary Immigration area.

“The Inspectors in the secondary referral area are better equipped to assist undocumented persons to facilitate landing. This notwithstanding, work permit holders are reminded that it is important to carry work permits when travelling to assist with expediting entry to Bermuda.

“Additionally, the travelling public is reminded that officers conducting enquires with respect to travel activity including duration and reasons for travel are simply performing their jobs. Members of the public are encouraged to cooperate.”

The Minister also reminded residents to check the expiration dates on their passports.

“As summer approaches the incidence of emergency requests associated with leisure travel increases. Regrettably, as disappointing as it may be for a young child, a trip to Disney World does not qualify as a bona fide emergency and the regular processing time of eight working days shall apply. For the avoidance of doubt, passports can be expedited for medical emergencies. Proof is required in these instances.”

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy

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Published June 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm)

Business visitors to get own airport immigration line

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