‘Fast Pass Cards’ Launched For Guest Workers

April 19, 2012

Minister of National Security Wayne Perinchief and Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry Patrice Minors hosted a joint press conference this morning [Apr.19] to launch the Fast Pass Card initiative.

Minister Minors said the initiative is a “great benefit for those guest workers in our community who possess work permits, particularly our friends and partners in the international business sector,”said Minister Minors.

“We certainly applaud the introduction of the Fast Pass Card as being a hassle free and convenient way for our guest workers to enter in and out of the Island,” said the Minister.

Example of the front and back of the Fast Pass Cards [with fictitious information] below:

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Minister Minors said this follows after the introduction of the 10-year work permit in November 2011 and the Incentives for Job Makers Act in January of this year, and is another demonstration of Government’s commitment to foster a more harmonious and efficient relationship with our business partners and our guest workers in all areas of our economic sphere.”

National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said the card is machine-readable, all internationally mandated security features have been included, and the card stores all information necessary for border control purposes at Bermuda’s points of entry. The fast pass cards will be issued from May 1st.

“Card holders can pack away their passports once on the plane and simply present their fast pass card on arrival at LF Wade International Airport,” said Minister Perinchief.

Minister Minors full statement follows below:

Good afternoon all,

Thank you Minister. I am very pleased today to join you in unveiling the Fast Pass Card.

Ladies and gentlemen, we in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry see this as a great benefit for those guest workers in our community who possess work permits, particularly our friends and partners in the international business sector.

I mentioned some weeks back that last year our Corporate Services section of the Ministry – the section responsible for work permits – processed some 6,043 standard one-to five-year work permit applications.

And there were 5,210 temporary three-month and periodic work permits processed in 2011.

Ladies and gentlemen, this would mean that at any given time our Customs and Immigration officials at the L.F Wade International Airport are processing large volumes of guest workers who are coming through our borders, not to mention balancing these numbers with our returning residents and visiting tourists.

So we certainly applaud the introduction of the Fast Pass Card as being a hassle free and convenient way for our guest workers to enter in and out of the Island.

Ladies and gentlemen, following on the heels of our introduction of the 10-Year Work Permit in November 2011 and the Incentives for Job Makers Act in January of this year, supported by the reduction of processing time for substantive work permits from 10 weeks to 4 weeks, we view this initiative as yet another demonstration of this Government’s commitment to foster a more harmonious and efficient relationship with our business partners and our guest workers in all areas of our economic sphere.

Thank you.

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Minister Perinchief’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon and thank you for coming. I am pleased to be joined by my colleague Minister Minors who has responsibility for work permits.

These economic times should awaken the best in us. In times of challenge we must devote more energy to innovation and to those steps that will demonstrate that we in Bermuda are confident in ourselves and in the prospects of economic growth.

Today’s traveller is confronted by the realities of the modern global condition at every turn. This is magnified for the business traveller whose livelihood depends on the ability to move quickly and to have minimal hassle while doing so. Bermuda can provide such an experience and as part of our commitment to do so I am pleased to present a technological solution to improve one aspect of our airport experience.

The fast pass card is the beginning of the end for the traditional 8 1/2 x 11, paper work permit. This credit card sized option is a durable, user-friendly alternative to the paper permit. The card is machine-readable and stores all information necessary for border control purposes at Bermuda’s points of entry.

Card holders can pack away their passports once on the plane and simply present their fast pass card on arrival at LF Wade International Airport.

We will walk before we run with this one and so our pilot group will be those persons issued with periodic permits. These are generally for business consultants and others who make working visits of a few days or weeks at a time. We will begin to issue fast pass cards from May 1st. Eventually, the majority of paper permits will be moved to the fast pass card.

All internationally mandated security features have been included, complete with an embossed holographic laminate featuring one of our iconic national images, the Longtail.

Thank you to Gregory Todd of the Department of Border Control, the project manager. We have the ability to produce the cards locally and the cost of doing so is minimal.

The Ministry of National Security is determined to do its part in keeping Bermuda competitive and primed for economic growth. We can achieve this goal in cost-effective, smart and innovative ways. Thank you. My colleague Minister Minors also has some remarks.

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Comments (40)

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  1. Mad Dawg says:

    Oh great. I assume this will be available to Bermudians as well. Why wouldn’t it?

    Does this mean we won’t have to interact with those morose immigration people? If so, that’s a big improvement.

  2. lightbulb! says:

    These cards are going the wrong way.

  3. Terry says:

    Just call the election please.
    Plus the card looks like a new Queen on a 5 Pound note.

  4. theotherside says:

    As a Spouse of Bermudian, I have been carrying around the 8.5 x 11 paper for around 10 years now. It’s really not all that burdensome and no more burdensome than carrying this new card. So I don’t see this as a big ‘win’ for ‘paper holders’.

    Now if you wanted to do something really intelligent with this technology, why not replace the foolish system of my having to get a silly yellow slip of paper every time I buy something that I will travel with back into Bermuda. Have one centralized database and a single card that I can keep adding items to. Now that would be useful and a ‘win’ for all travlers.

    • Liars! says:

      they will probably take that idea and run wiff it……

    • Finally left! says:

      I like this idea much more. Govt really needs to get in touch with this yellow slip reality.

    • Just sayin' says:

      Totally agree. That silly SOB 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper with my photo on it is ridiculous.

      And, what other country makes you carry little yellow notes for your cell phones, iPads, laptops? Perhaps the time has come to acknowledge that everyone carries electronics, so if you are travelling with a normal complement of electronics, say, for example 1 phone and 1 iPad or laptop, then you don’t have to prove anything?

      • Think About It says:

        If most Bermudians were trustworthy, then maybe you wouldn’t have to get those yellow slips. But since they aren’t, the one’s that are have to pay for it. The yellow slip is to track your serial numbers so that you can’t take that iPad 2, or iPhone 4 and replace them with the new ones (which are identical) and not pay duty.

        • Family Man says:

          You can get your own ‘little yellow slips’ made up at Kinko’s for a few bucks per 500. Government never keeps a record of what they’ve issued, so save yourself some duty, fill out your own.

          The OP’s idea of an electronic card with a central database sounds a lot more practical and fraud proof.

    • BermudaBound says:

      And here’s the rub… I distinctly remember the same idea being floated about 5-7 years ago by a certain outspoken individual in government that “All guest workers will be issued an ID card that can be requested to be shown on demand..”

      At that time there was huge outcry – this time it’s being sold as an “easier and faster way to get through the hassle of immigration”.

      Of course it’s a great idea! But when you sell it as fried squid as opposed to “calamari” or baked snails rather than “escargot” you’re always going to turn people off.

      I for one think it’s a move forward and I’m sure that the concept will be easily adapted to spousal letters and other long term residential visas. hopefully the days of carrying around a flimsy non-replaceable 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper will be numbered.

      I still can’t help but laugh that it’s the same concept, different salesman though.

    • The truth(original original) says:

      I’m an ex-Customs officer, and I agree with the above comment that Customs should have a system whereby people can electronically register their goods. The current system is totally archaic and bordering on the ridiculous.

      It’s actually a point I raised when I was there, but good luck getting anything implemented unless the idea came from management level.

      • Argosy says:

        It’s because HM Customs, lead by the Collector, is mired in the 1950′s and have not canged since then.

        Look how much of a struggle it’s been to get a red/green channel….oh, and we still don’t have this!

        It’s made worse by THE UNIFORM! POWER!!

  5. Cancer says:

    Oh Ms Minors…. now the guest workers are our friends!!!! Election is coming!! Election is coming!!!

  6. LOL (original TM*) says:

    I’m more interested in this “email” going around about the attendence at the Carifta Games seems the PLP are at the race baiting and shoring up their support. It tied up the radio on sister station (I’ll let you figure out what station) all day today. It always amazes me that some blacks on this island think they know what white people are thinking and read into our every action or inaction. As Special says we must be powerful indeed or some blacks are just scared of us, not sure why must have something to do with the past they can’t get by. This is unfortunate the past should not dictate how we should we interact today if it does really what have we learned from it. I say nothing as here we are repeating it. For the record I spent the time with my family both mine and my wife’s side and guess what all the races were rept there so they weren’t at carifta either. Maybe that makes them less black some how I don’t know maybe one of the callers to the station today could clarify for me? Guess I and my family must by shallow or un-Bermudian or something. Most on the show that called in talked about divided Bermuda and how whites are scared to come out were self admitted PLP supporters and members. So I ask them would they join a party that they know they are not welcome? (I did for a time check them out and can tell you I was made to feel uncofortable much to somes people’s disbelief). Knowing me I am Bermudian and I go anywhere I don’t care if it’s dominated by blacks which is more than likely where you’ll find me or whites, although I am seldom around “my kind”(as much as I deetest even writing that as I am Bermudian and that is what I wish I could write).

    So how bout it Bernews write a store on the email and print it for us to see. It reminds me of the 2007 with cherry picked printouts of facebook conversations that ended up in the hands of many PLP supporters back then. Funny how hate solidifies ones resolve. Then again who am I? Just another “white boy” how defies the norm and doesn’t fit in the box some wish to stuff me in…………..

    LOL f the spelling and grama in this take it raw and un cut

    • Proud BDA ex-pat says:

      Says alot when you inject “my kind” in a wh/bl expose. For me, my kind is the human race, and I just happen to be one of light skin. The rest of your ramble instantly became racist garbage, FYI.

  7. Navin Johnson says:

    any word on term limits?

  8. for real says:

    hopefully there will be some expats left on the isalnd for this to make sense!

  9. Kathy says:

    Why not take it one step further??

    ….also issue Bermudian cards and make everyone carry them on their person at all times. Then if you get stopped, for a crime, let’s say…and you don’t have either the “Fast Track” or the “Bermudian” card on you then it means you are illegal and you will be deported.

    Now that makes sense to me!

  10. John Dog says:

    So true Cancer. But a leopard can’t change its spots. As soon as the election is over and the PLP safely back in power, it will be more of the save: we hate those foreigners. Besides, giving a small plastic card doesn’t deal with the real issue of term limits. Until that is gone, we are going to see our country continue to slide.

  11. whatever says:

    How much is this going to cost?

  12. Victor says:

    Don’t be fooled! These are really ID cards that expats will be required to carry at all times. There will be electronic tracking in them (much like those tags on the windscreen of your car) so that these dangerous interlopers in our national can be traced at all times. Well done Minister Minors for getting a tag on these sorts.

  13. just a spouse of... says:

    As a spouse of a Bermudian, I need a passport and my spousal letter of which I get questioned. Am I eligible for a fast pass? Of course not. This smoke and mirror “friendly to guest worker environment” is because there is an election coming up. Btw fast pass is for rides – not immigration.

  14. alicia says:

    I would love an easier way than my spousal letter for when I’m coming in and out of Bermuda.

    • theotherside says:

      How does carrying a card in your wallet make it “easier” than carrying a piece of paper with your travel documents? Barring the paper getting ripped or wet due to poor care, is showing a letter really all that difficult to begin with Alicia? And showing a card enhances your immigration experience how? This just seems like an ill conceived plan as I see little gain in either real efficiency nor convenience over the current paper. Money and time can and should be spent elsewhere.

      • Finally left! says:

        Its more like a travelcard… i believe you scan it and go through. … as far as i know.

  15. Finally left! says:

    I think they’re a good idea. There are better things to have worked on, but its a start.

  16. Cleancut says:

    What about our second class citizens or Permanent Residents? Do they still have to present that old scrappy piece of paper year in and year out?

    • Shaking the Head says:

      PRC are now third class because they still have to complete a landing card. Probably to inflate the air arrival numbers.

  17. WinterSun says:

    Congrats Bermuda Government, I think this is excellent.

    When one lives in a foreign country as a non-citizen, one is obligated to carry some form of government issued identification that states the purpose and length of your entry. I am not aware of any non-citizen being given any special treatment (unless your a diplomat or like) but every country has the right to protect its borders. You carry your entry ID in your passport and even your SSN and drivers lisence number, health card etc., have special codes/letters/numbers which automatically identifies you as not being a citizen of that country, so you automatically stand out wherever you go and what ever you use.

    So, very good, Bermuda Government, those who don’t like it have a choice (just like it is in their home country of which they came here from), to return home and enjoy being priviledged and where they know international people are treated the same in their country, rightfully, to protect the best interest of all citizens and borders of that country.

    Job well done.

    Been there, experienced that, and accepted it respectfully with the opportunity to experience what those countries have to offer – like everyone else from another country to reside in one not their own.

    Watch house hunters international and see what many expats experience in the Middle East, Asia etc., and see if they complain, or respectfully conform to that countrys rules and regulations.

    Go Bermuda! Every country has the right to implement what’s in the best interest of that country and it’s citizens. It’s happening everywhere….

  18. Hmmmm says:

    Yay, spend, spend, spend. I wonder who benefits from this contract. Was it put out to tender?

  19. Hmmmm says:

    Guest worker. How about quitting insulting them and calling them workers.nto be a worker you must be resident of Bermuda and leave it at that.

  20. Mountbatten says:

    I had fast pass cards for my family at Disneyy World over Chistmas . They work and are worth the extra cash .

  21. Beam me up Sparky says:

    We already have fast passes for Guest Workers to leave, they’re called PLP policies. That seems to get them out very quickly.

  22. The nitty gritty says:

    So you come up with all the obvious ideas when an election looms and there’s a danger you may be looking for alternative work?
    13 years of anti international business from this government ending in Hamilton a comparative ghost
    town, and now you try to close the stable door?
    Remember the threats to people’s work permits from Burgess? or the undiplomatic tirades from the unelected Burch? You, the government have alot to answer for to 55,000 people who YOU work for,
    that’s right you work for us and on behalf of us and we give you whatever power you thought you had.
    Guess what? We are going to take it back next election and award it to someone who better do a better job or they too will get bounced out in shame!
    Don’t like what we have to say now? Too ……….bad get some humility.
    Maybe it’s time the government held the bake sales and give the schools what they need.

  23. Solidarity says:

    A Positive step

  24. Bryan says:

    This at least simplifies things and makes things easier and controllable. Will this be paid for or is it free? I actually like how the card looks and how it was designed.