$21 Million Budget For Home Affairs Ministry

March 4, 2013

Today the Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy provided an overview of his Ministry’s $21 million budget, noting that the Ministry’s primary focus was on ensuring training and employment for underemployed and unemployed Bermudians.

“As the economy grows we need to ensure that Bermudians are well prepared and positioned to take on the new jobs,” said Minister Fahy.” And so, I think it’s very important to stress that the training of our Bermudians is a key focus and priority for this Ministry.”

The Minister said they will allocate $300,000 to the Retraining Scholarship Fund with the Bermuda College with a view to providing eligible candidates funding to pursue nursing and teaching certifications.

“Also, the Department will soon enter into an agreement with Meat Ipswich, U.K. to provide an overseas accelerated accredited training opportunity for four Bermudians to pursue a career as a butcher and to achieve a butcher certification,” said Minister Fahy.

“A sum of $80,465 has been allocated for this initiative. Training for this profession is currently not available in Bermuda. Upon completion of this program, these individuals will enter the local workforce as Apprentices.”

“The proposed butcher programme is specifically designed to meet the needs of local industry, and it is expected that the four participants will attend training for up to twelve weeks depending on the location and particular learning institution.”

Minister Fahy continued, “The main objective is to minimize the issuance of work permits, and to create opportunities for Bermudians to gain competence and proficiency in a sustainable occupation.”

“The Department will also soon enter into an agreement with NEIT to provide an overseas accredited training opportunity for six Bermudians seeking to become Automotive Collision Repair professionals. A total of $201,190 has been set aside for this programme. This level of training is also currently not available in Bermuda.”

“I am pleased to report that the Ministry is also actively working with our cruise ship partners to establish a local employment office liaison relationship with a view to securing employment opportunities across all professions with those cruise companies that service Bermuda, ” said the Minister.

“To this end, last week I met personally with the principals of one of our cruise partners to firm up such a programme that I expect will be rolled out in the coming months.”

“Finally, regarding Immigration, the public can expect that legislation will be tabled shortly to increase the cost of some work permit categories, decrease others and to set fees for new categories. These modest increases will assist in replacing revenue lost as a result of the elimination of Term Limits where each application generated a fee of $148.”

“The loss of the term limit revenue however pales when compared to the opportunity costs generated as a result of the elimination of the policy. In this regard, the strengthened regulatory enhancements, as promised will be available by March 15, 2013. This declaration will be signed up front; and issued to all current work permit holders, regardless of when their work permit expires.

“It is anticipated that by April 30, 2013, all employers will be required to return signed declarations; reconciled against a full listing of all current work permit holders employed within their organization. Each declaration will be incorporated into each work permit holder’s immigration file.”

Minister Fahy’s full statement follows below:

I am very pleased today to be able to provide an overview of the Budget for the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The proposed budget for 2013/14 reflects changes in service delivery and service levels for some established programmes and the inclusion of new initiatives designed to enhance the quality of service to the public offered by the various Departments.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has responsibility for:

  • The Department of Labour and Training;
  • Registry General;
  • The Department of Immigration;
  • The Department of E-Government; and
  • Municipalities.

The total Ministry budget is Twenty One Million, and Seventy One Thousand Dollars ($21,071,000).

Of this amount, the Ministry Headquarters allocation, Head 93, totals Seven Million, One Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand Dollars ($7,172M).

The Current Account Estimates for Head 93 – the Ministry, includes funding for all of headquarters administration which is inclusive of grant funding for the Municipalities.

Like any Ministry headquarters, the Ministry’s mission is to direct and coordinate the activities of its Departments.

You will already be aware that this Ministry like all others has been charged with three core objectives:

  • Strengthen the economy;
  • Create new jobs; and
  • Reduce violent crime.

As a result, the Ministry’s resources have been directed towards achieving these objectives.

As a demonstration of our commitment, the Ministry is actively engaged as a participant on the Economic Development Committee. As you are aware, this group is working to streamline regulatory processes and remove roadblocks and barriers associated with major developments in Bermuda in a bid to create new jobs.

As the economy grows we need to ensure that Bermudians are well prepared and positioned to take on the new jobs.

And so, I think it’s very important to stress that the training of our Bermudians is a key focus and priority for this Ministry.

To this end, the selection process for the National Training Board that assists with strategic planning and oversight of the Department of Labour and Training is set to take on a new direction under this government.

It is envisaged that the Board will serve as the umbrella training organization bringing together representatives from existing training bodies and associations under one umbrella; it is further anticipated that the Organizations and Associations that they represent will in turn serve as Occupational Advisory Committees.

The Board’s mandate is to develop a National Training Plan and to oversee the implementation of that plan. The plan will consider the needs to the Bermuda economy today and in the future and include what will ultimately become Nationally Recognised Training that is, training packages, qualifications, accredited courses, skill sets, units of competency, to name a few.

The proposed plan will also include recommendations with respect to resource allocation pertaining to scholarship programmes and training budget alignment for the Department of Labour and Training.

Ideally, the training plan will identify synergies and points of integration so that we are better able to leverage and support existing training programmes being developed and delivered by the various training organizations and industry associations in Bermuda.

The aim is to effectively plan for Bermuda’s human resource needs today and in the future in collaboration with industry in the true spirit of Workforce Development.

We recognize however that we cannot wait until the Plan has been completed and so we are continuing to service the needs of Bermudians by providing tactical programmes that are aligned with reducing the reliance on overseas labour in areas where we have the ability to train or retrain available resources.

Therefore the public can expect that we will soon allocate $300,000 to the Retraining Scholarship Fund with the Bermuda College with a view to providing eligible candidates funding to pursue nursing and teaching certifications.

This will supplement the Accounting certification programme that is already in channel at the Bermuda College.

Also, the Department will soon enter into an agreement with Meat Ipswich, U.K. to provide an overseas accelerated accredited training opportunity for four Bermudians to pursue a career as a butcher and to achieve a butcher certification.

A sum of $80,465 has been allocated for this initiative. Training for this profession is currently not available in Bermuda. Upon completion of this program, these individuals will enter the local workforce as Apprentices.

The proposed butcher programme is specifically designed to meet the needs of local industry, and it is expected that the four participants will attend training for up to twelve weeks depending on the location and particular learning institution.

On completion of the coursework, participants will be tested to assess their proficiency and competence. They are expected to achieve passing grades on their tests to obtain an industry recognized certification that will attest to their competence in this profession.

This certification, the Food and Drink Qualifications Award, comparative to a level II City and Guilds qualification, is the same qualification held by the majority of non-Bermudian butchers currently working in Bermuda.

The main objective is to minimize the issuance of work permits, and to create opportunities for Bermudians to gain competence and proficiency in a sustainable occupation.

The Department will also soon enter into an agreement with NEIT to provide an overseas accredited training opportunity for six Bermudians seeking to become Automotive Collision Repair professionals.

A total of $201,190 has been set aside for this programme. This level of training is also currently not available in Bermuda.

The proposed training will assist with promoting a sustainable workforce and ensuring future job opportunities for six Bermudians in this profession. As part of the programme and on completion of the course work, participants will be assessed and tested to prove their proficiency and competence prior to returning to Bermuda.

Again, they are expected to obtain an internationally recognized certification that will allow them to compete for opportunities on a level playing field.

Although there has not been a significant change in the number of work permit issuances for professional Automotive Collision Repair journeypersons, it is clear that requests for renewals are consistent. Additionally, the industry is concerned that the Bermudians currently working in this field are nearing retirement and succession planning either does not exist or there are very limited numbers to fill the eventual void.

The main objective is to minimize the requests for the issuance of work permits and to realize sustainability with well trained Bermudian professionals.

I am pleased to report that the Ministry is also actively working with our cruise ship partners to establish a local employment office liaison relationship with a view to securing employment opportunities across all professions with those cruise companies that service Bermuda.

To this end, last week I met personally with the principals of one of our cruise partners to firm up such a programme that I expect will be rolled out in the coming months.

It is anticipated that this programme will yield employment opportunities for Bermudians who are skilled in any number of areas, both technical and professional. Other programmes for other segments of unemployed persons such as the skilled tradesman who may need to be retrained or the qualified professional who needs new skills to become marketable in a changing environment are also in train.

For instance, I referenced earlier the Retraining Scholarship Fund with the Bermuda College – this remains active and plans are underway to add the nursing and teaching certifications to the programmes eligible for funding support.

Ladies and gentlemen, we understand that it is critical that we provide genuine opportunities for our next generation of Bermudians, whether they are embarking on their studies or about to enter into the workforce.

We recognise that it is vital that our students are exposed to various work environments which stimulate their career interests, and we are pleased that we are able to do so with our Summer Employment Programme.

In that regard, I am pleased to note that this year we are increasing the number of Bermudian participants in this programme from 100 to 150, as we recognize that they will need more opportunities for work this summer. So, be assured, this Government remains heavily vested in our young people and that is demonstrated by our commitment and support of the Summer Employment Programme.

Finally, regarding Immigration, the public can expect that legislation will be tabled shortly to increase the cost of some work permit categories, decrease others and to set fees for new categories. These modest increases will assist in replacing revenue lost as a result of the elimination of Term Limits where each application generated a fee of $148.

The loss of the term limit revenue however pales when compared to the opportunity costs generated as a result of the elimination of the policy. In this regard, the strengthened regulatory enhancements, as promised will be available by March 15, 2013. This declaration will be signed up front; and issued to all current work permit holders, regardless of when their work permit expires.

It is anticipated that by April 30, 2013, all employers will be required to return signed declarations; reconciled against a full listing of all current work permit holders employed within their organization. Each declaration will be incorporated into each work permit holder’s immigration file.

A signed declaration must also be submitted for spouses who were previously granted a conditional extension to term limits; the declaration must also be submitted by his/her employer.

Additionally, for new (initial/first time to Bermuda) work permit holders, a signed declaration must be included with the work permit application. If the declaration is missing or not signed, the work permit application will be deemed incomplete and may be returned to the employer.

That concludes my overview of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ budget initiatives, and it’s against this backdrop that I am happy to field any budget related queries you may have.

Thank you.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Butcher Training: Four Bermudians Off To The UK | Bernews.com | April 2, 2013
  1. DarkSideOfTheMoon says:

    So the PLP tries to train people in drywall. OBA supporters say this is a waste because the construction industry is weak. And now the OBA wants to train people as butchers and we just had two grocery stores close. If you OBA supporters think this is OK, you are bunch of hypocrites.

    • Argosy says:

      You’re absolutely correct, Darkside.

      Let’s simply continue to bring in foreign butchers.

    • sonoso says:

      hey, darkside, we all gotta eat inna?

    • keturah says:

      do you know how many local butchers there are out of the remaining stores ? They always seems to be British wherever I shop. How did the drywall training do?…do you know how many of the participants are now employed after the training? Hopefully both initiatives do well.

    • Pastor Syl Hayward says:

      Whites closed because its owners made major errors. Market Place, Lindos and Arnolds are each doing a roaring trade. Every body on island eats, even the charities that supply food to the hungry and broke have to buy their ingredients somewhere.
      In addition, the trade of butcher is one that can be utilized anywhere in the world. I don’t think you can quite say the same about drywalling. I could be wrong.

    • Naive Observer says:

      Butchers will be in demand as long as even 1 store remains open. These positions are largely head by expats, so in time they will be able to replace those work permits. It is a steady, non-seasonal work that pays pretty good. Seems like the sort of thing people without higher education should be looking at!

  2. People always got eat meat. People always need dents knocked out of cars. Good job OBA

  3. Sir George Somers says:

    If you go to all the supermarkets, the majority of the butchers e.g at supermart, miles, Lindos are English and expats. So this is a job that Bermudians can easily do after a bit of training!

  4. Don't Care says:

    You guys stayed home and did not vote and now want to compalin. this is just the beginning of the worst to come from this careless government. Blame Minister Nalton, Pamplin and Richards and PCC for their care only to the business people and not “their kind” as the man stated on Shirley Dill show

    • Sir George Somers says:

      Well if the majority of those who voted, voted for a pro business party then surely there shouldn’t be a surprise when the government is pro business orientated.

      It would be the same as voting in the Labour Party and then once in govt the party didn’t represent the labour workers.

  5. Argosy says:

    “…..the worst to come from this careless government.”

    Can you, honestly & with a straight face, say that this is worse than what the PLP did to us the past 14 years? Do you really believe that Doc B “cared” for and about you? How about the Colonel who called a lady a “h#@se n&%$#” and actually stated “….we don’T Care what you think”?

    Guess you really “DON’T CARE”!!

  6. M.P. MOUNTBATTEN JP says:

    I would wonder why Meat Ipswich England ? I bet if one connects the dots we would find a family /friend connection . Canada would have been cheaper and far superior by a long run .

    • Alicia says:

      It probably has a lot to do with student visas as if you have a British passport you don’t need a student visa, otherwise to go to schoo, in canada you need a visa unless you are also Canadian. So going to England opens up more options for bermudians then canada

  7. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    @ Mountbatten:
    The only thing cheaper about Canada might have been the airfare. Britain has a high reputation for producing excellent butchers. Plus, as a colony, we have some benefits. Why didn’t we hear this stuff when we sent people over there for, what was it, automotive training?

  8. Grubster says:

    Colision repair and butchery. Good start for training. What about hairdressers? Lots of non Bermudians in the salons in town. What about something to encourage more Bermudians into caring /nanny roles instead of having to issue work permits because there was no suitable/available Bermudians. I really don’t know what Bermuda college offers in terms of chef training but may be this could also be pushed further.

    Howver, people do need to have a realistic expectation of roles and salaries

  9. Clive Spate says:

    $80,000 to train four butchers and $200,000 to train six Auto Bodyshop specialists.

    Seems like generous funding to help train Bermudians. Hopefully the places will be filled by worthy candidates. A big investment for ten jobs.

    A bit concerned about a teacher training program at the college though. It needs to produce high quality teachers as it can effect the education of hundreds of Bermudian children. How is the program to be delivered?

    I think that the quality of the education that Bermudian students received is far more important than the nationality of the teacher.