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Caines promises release of immigration plan

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (File photograph)

Bermuda’s bipartisan immigration reform plan is to be tabled in the House of Assembly next week, the Minister of National Security said yesterday.

Wayne Caines said that the plan would take into consideration the needs of business and of Bermuda as a whole.

Mr Caines said he heard a panel discussion yesterday on the findings of a business confidence survey conducted by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce and HSBC across 198 companies.

The survey found that restrictive immigration policies were among the biggest concerns for Bermudian-based businesses.

Mr Caines said: “This is something that our ministry, in fact our government, realises is a significant challenge and it is something that is being worked on as a priority.

“The interesting thing about listening to the business community talk today was that they were just focused on the business part of it. The Government has the responsibility to include the social elements, to include Bermudians.”

Mr Caines added: “We believe that this outlines the challenges that we have in Bermuda, highlights a plan that we have going forward and we believe it is a robust plan not just for business, but for every element that is required in Bermuda.

“It just doesn’t focus on the needs of the business community, it focuses on the opportunities for Bermudians to be given training and development opportunities in Bermuda.”

Walton Brown, a former Minister of Home Affairs, formed the Bipartisan Committee on Immigration Reform in 2017.

Mr Caines said it was “myopic” for businesses to only focus on the immigration problems that they faced.

He added: “We have to have the right conversation, we have to have an historic conversation, we have to look at past inequities and how people have been treated in this country.

“Of course we will look at ways to make the processes and procedures in immigration work better, that is a part of it.

“But we can’t allow the business community to go away and be the only beneficiaries of immigration reform. We believe that high tide raises all boats.”