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Labour minister says Government working on ‘optimum population number’

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Jason Hayward, the labour minister (File photograph)

The Government today admitted it has failed to work out the “magic number” for Bermuda’s ideal population size.

Jason Hayward, the labour minister, said that despite talks with the finance ministry, ministers had yet to figure out a “ballpark” number that the island could sustain.

Mr Hayward added: “We have had discussions with the Ministry of Finance as to what we believe that magic population number would be.

“We haven’t landed on an optimum population number.

“But, certainly, we would like to see both the number of persons increase as well as the number of persons in our population that can sustain those employment levels.

“And so we will look at a correlation between what level of residential population would be required to have a desired number of jobs in the economy and look at what is sustainable at that level.”

But Mr Hayward said: “We haven’t quite landed on what that number would actually be.

“Some work needs to be done in terms of econometrics to determine what would be the ballpark number that we are looking at from a country standpoint.”

But Mr Hayward denied the admission was a failure in strategic planning.

He said: “I think you can move in the right direction without having an absolute.

“Certainly, expansion of the residential population is an aim of our economic recovery plan and moving in that direction is always positive.”

Mr Hayward also ruled out voting rights for people who did not have Bermudian status.

He said: “Unless there is a constitutional change, I don’t believe that we are in a position now to extend voting rights to persons that do not posses Bermudian status.

“Personally, I support the position where persons that posses Bermuda status are the only persons that have the ability to vote in Bermuda elections.”

Mr Hayward said that holders of the Economic Investment Certificate had invested nearly $40 million in Bermuda since the scheme was launched in March.

The programme allows EIC holders who invest $2.5 million to apply for a Residential Certificate after five years.

Mr Hayward said he was unable to say how many jobs had been created through the EIC, but 90 per cent of the investment had gone into real estate.

He added: “I cannot quantify the amount of jobs that will be created in the future, but I would say that I’m confident that you will see a greater variety of investment moving forward.

“There is no link between Residential Certificates and obtaining Bermuda status.

“At this point in time there is no intention or consideration being given to transforming Residential Certificate holders into individuals that possess Bermuda status.”

Mr Hayward said the EIC scheme had been a success.

He added: “In the eight months since the launch of the initiative the total investment of EIC holders in Bermuda is over $39.5 million.

“This is a significant and positive result.

“This represents eight certificates being issued, covering a total of 20 persons, including dependents.

“There is an active and growing pipeline of over 20 persons who have currently registered their interest in the programme.

“The total investment of the EIC pipeline is around $200 million.

“EIC recipients are required to invest a minimum of $2.5 million into the Bermudian economy.”

Mr Hayward said: “The policy objective is to fully harness immigration as one of many tools for creating economic growth for Bermuda while taking into account our limited space and ensuring that Bermudians fully benefit.

“The EIC was designed to stimulate economic activity.

“EIC holders who seek to reside in Bermuda indefinitely may apply for the Residential Certificate after five years.

“The applicants for a Residential Certificate must posses an EIC to be eligible for residence in Bermuda.”

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Published November 25, 2021 at 12:26 pm (Updated November 25, 2021 at 12:26 pm)

Labour minister says Government working on ‘optimum population number’

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