[Updated] Effective immediately, business travellers to the island from visa-controlled nations will no longer require separate Bermuda entry visas, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said this morning [Dec.9].
The Minister said the requirement was being waived because the businessmen effected would already have US, UK or Canadian multi-entry visa. Bermuda requires nationals of approximately 100 countries [full list here - PDF] to apply for Bermuda entry visas before entry.
The Minister speaks briefly on the new visa rules:
Speaking in the House of Assembly, Minister Perinchief said, “This in no way compromises the critical mission of border control.
“The vetting procedure conducted by those countries is strict enough to satisfy the grant of the visa in the ordinary course and therefore we can be confident in offering the visa waiver in similar circumstances.”
The Minister said the “time consuming process” is not conducive to the business traveler and either discourages travel to Bermuda or creates challenges at the airport on arrival.
The Minister’s full statement follows below:
Mr. Speaker, Bermuda is an important player on the world’s business stage. Our success as a jurisdiction has been founded in our ability to adapt to trends in industry and to set the pace for new approaches to encouraging investment. This Government continues to recognize the global nature of business and the changing fortunes of investment capital.
Mr. Speaker, on any given day, men and women of many nationalities consider Bermuda for meetings, conferences, investment and general business. Modern companies have increased their global reach and are staffed by persons of various origins. Skill and talent know no passport and as a jurisdiction we must ensure that we are welcoming to those people who wish to do business on our shores.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that with immediate effect, the requirement for a Bermuda Entry Visa for visa controlled nationals on business to Bermuda will be waived. The sole condition for this waiver Mr. Speaker, is that the business visitor must have a US, UK or Canadian multi-entry visa.
Mr. Speaker, this in no way compromises the critical mission of border control. The vetting procedure conducted by those countries is strict enough to satisfy the grant of the visa in the ordinary course and therefore we can be confident in offering the visa waiver in similar circumstances.
Mr. Speaker, I can advise Honourable Members that the Bermuda Entry Visa is issued to visa controlled nationals upon application to the British Embassy or High Commission in their home country. The Bermuda Department of Immigration consents to the grant of the Bermuda Entry Visa where the applicant possesses a multi-entry visa for one of those countries previously mentioned. This process can be time consuming and involves the surrender of an applicant’s passport.
Mr. Speaker, this is not conducive to the business traveler and either discourages travel to Bermuda or creates challenges at the airport on arrival.
Mr. Speaker, the waiver of this requirement will apply to every category of business visitor including those on periodic, representative and salesman’s permits. The Department of Immigration is prepared to administer these changes in policy and I can also advise Honourable Members that key stakeholders in industry have been made aware of this change.
Mr. Speaker, this is joined-up Government at its best. My colleague the Honourable Member who speaks for Business Development and Tourism informed me of this recommendation from industry at a meeting on November 23rd. Technical Officers considered and advised on the proposed policy change such that Cabinet considered and approved the matter on 6th December.
Today, three days after that approval, Mr. Speaker, the change has been communicated to stakeholders, this Honourable House advised and the Department poised for implementation.
Mr. Speaker, this Government is making good on its promise of less red tape and more red carpet.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.