Bill will push penalty for work permit abuse to $10,000 – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Bill will push penalty for work permit abuse to $10,000

New legislation cracking down on work permit violations is expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly when Parliament reconvenes on Friday.

The new laws will give the Chief Immigration Officer power to impose a civil penalty of $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 for a second or subsequent offence on employers and or employees wherein work permit violations occur.

Such violations could include working without a work permit or working outside of the scope of a work permit. Last night a Government spokesman confirmed that Ministry of Home Affairs officials had met with members of the Work Permit Stakeholder group to review the near final draft of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (No 2) Act 2013 (BIPA).

The Work Permit Stakeholder Group, which is chaired by Richard Winchell, Executive Director of the Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC), reviewed areas relating to the new Act and will work with the Ministry to establish guidelines with respect to its violations' policy.

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said: “We view the members of the Stakeholder Group as an integral part of our team in the work permit reform process.

“We are working very hard to grow the Bermuda economy so that there is opportunity for all. In that regard, preserving, protecting and providing jobs for Bermudians is our top priority.

“As I have stated previously, our policies must be friendly to business while simultaneously protecting the rights of Bermudians to work in their own country.

“This requires balance and with the introduction of this proposed legislation we firmly believe that we are moving in the right direction in taking this balanced approach.”

According to the spokesman, the Work Permit Policy Stakeholder Group “will now consider the implications of the proposed amendments on Phase II of Work Permit Policy reform”.

“The overall aim is to encourage fair employment practices whilst ensuring that Bermuda's work permit policy is streamlined, easy to use and demonstrates that Bermuda is open for business,” the spokesman added.

“To that end, also planned on Friday is the tabling of amendments to the Incentives for Job Makers Act. Essentially this Bill seeks to amend the BIPA and the Economic Development Act 1968 (EDA) to strengthen the incentives regime and to remove some of the barriers that have been identified by industry in an effort to create a more effective legislative tool to assist Bermuda during these critical economic times.”

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Published September 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 12, 2013 at 12:52 am)

Bill will push penalty for work permit abuse to $10,000

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