Minister tables immigration reform legislation
Legislation for long-term residents to obtain permanent residency in Bermuda was today tabled in the House of Assembly.
Jason Hayward, the labour minister, said the Government was “acutely aware” of the sensitivity of immigration reform.
He referenced the Pathways to Status legislation brought in 2016 under the One Bermuda Alliance administration that led to “social unrest, and was ultimately unsuccessful”.
He said the crucial difference with the new legislation was that it did not present avenues to automatically obtain Bermuda status.
Mr Hayward cited the example of a 34-year resident of the island with Bermudian children who would have to leave the island once their children turned 18.
“This resident will have to relocate and take all of the human capital that otherwise would have been contributed to Bermuda and move it to a new jurisdiction.
“More importantly, this resident will be separated from their Bermudian child, and will no longer maintain the physical relationship that has been nurtured thus far.
“This legislation provides hope for this family.”
Eligibility criteria for the granting of permanent resident’s certificates will include “any person who has been ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years or more” and cover “a non-Bermudian parent of a child with Bermudian status who has been ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years or more”.
The legislation will also “expand upon current provisions that allow the granting of PRC to children born to second-generation PRC holders who have been ordinarily resident in Bermuda”.
Mr Hayward added: “The Government’s changes will provide a more fair and consistent process of applying for a permanent resident’s certificate.
“Additionally, the policy proposals eliminate gender, racial and financial bias by giving equal opportunity for all long-term residents.
“The recommended time period required to grant Permanent Resident’s Certificates to individuals who have been ordinarily resident in Bermuda is very conservative.
“Approximately 96 per cent of the 200-plus countries in the world have significantly shorter residential requirements for permanent residency.”
Mr Hayward conceded “some may believe these proposals go too far” but maintained the Government saw the amendments as “simply the right thing to do”.