[Updated] The Chamber of Commerce is pleased that Term Limits have been abolished as they feel the policy has been a “major impediment” for businesses to grow and contributed to the reduction in people living here, Chamber of Commerce President Ronnie Viera said.
Yesterday Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy announced that Government will eliminate the Term Limit Policy “with immediate effect.”
Under the Term Limits Policy work permit holders were not eligible to stay on the island for more than 6 years unless they received an exemption. Minister Fahy stressed that it is the Work Permit Policy that protects Bermudian jobs, not the Term Limit Policy, and said they ”believe that the elimination of the policy will help spark economic growth and create employment opportunities for Bermudians.”
In response to the announcement Chamber of Commerce President Ronnie Viera said, “The Chamber is pleased that the Term Limits policy has been abolished, as this is what we have been requesting for some time publicly and privately with Government officials.
“We have always maintained that the policy has been a major impediment for businesses to grow on the island and one of the significant reasons for the reduction in the number of people living and working here.
“This decline in economic activity has severely affected our members and many others in the community. When people move and are living in Bermuda they buy groceries, buy clothing, eat out at restaurants, pay rent, buy gas for the car, pay health insurance, buy furniture, pay school fees, hire a plumber when needed, buy water etc.
“All of this spending results in jobs for Bermudians in all sectors and puts money in our pockets. To be clear the Chamber continues to support the need for work permits and the protection of jobs for qualified Bermudians, however we believe that the removal of the term limits policy is one important step towards our economic recovery,” concluded Mr Viera.
Update 12.00pm: Commenting the announcement on the elimination of the Term limit policy, the Bermuda Employers’ Council said that it “removes a stumbling block for International Business [IB] to stay and to choose Bermuda for its operations.”
A statement from the Council said, “This decision with our sophisticated business support infrastructure will make the Island significantly more competitive in the international arena. The Island earns an estimated 80% of its income from IB and the more we can do to keep IB here and to improve upon it the better.
“We recognize the Term Limit policy was introduced to inhibit long-term residents; work permits were considered separately. However, the consequences of the policy in our view compounded the impact of the recession.
“Changing the policy on its own will not solve our economic problems. It is a meaningful message to the world we are seriously open for business. It provides confidence in Bermuda.”
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