Minister: New Work Permit Policies On March 1st

February 18, 2015

On March 1st 2015, the Department of Immigration will be implementing new Work Permit Policies including new Work Permit Cards and the “identification of wanted persons” via the Immigration website, Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said today [Feb 18] in the Senate.

The Minister said, “I am advising of the initiatives that the Department of Immigration will be implementing at March 1, 2015, namely:

  1. 1] the Work Permit Policies
  2. 2] new Work Permit Cards
  3. 3] new signage at the L.F. Wade International Airport;
  4. 4] the identification of “wanted” persons via the Immigration website.”

The Minister said that as part of the Department of Immigration’s cost-cutting exercise, the application forms will no longer be printed, and will will only be available on the Immigration website.

“Employers and applicants will be able to complete the forms online and print them for submission with all relevant documentation to complete the work permit application,” Minister Fahy said.

The Minister also said that new laminated Work Permit Cards will be made available to all work permit holders, replacing the current paper work permit document, and on March 1, 2015 a Business Visitor Line will be introduced at the airport.

“The last initiative by the Department of Immigration relates to “wanted” posters,” added the Minister.

“In December 2014, the Chief Immigration Officer sought advice from the Attorney General’s Chambers as to whether the Department of Immigration could use ‘wanted’ posters in an attempt to find person’s who are in Bermuda illegally. Advice was received that confirmed the Department can proceed with such an initiative.

Minister Fahy continued, “The Department of Immigration is currently searching for at least one foreign national who is in Bermuda illegally [without the Minister’s permission].

“To this end, the Department of Immigration will be seeking the general public’s assistance for “Wanted Persons” via the Department’s website. These will normally be persons where all other avenues to find them have been exhausted.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Madam President, I am advising of the initiatives that the Department of Immigration will be implementing at March 1, 2015, namely: 1] the Work Permit Policies; 2] new Work Permit Cards; 3] new signage at the L.F. Wade International Airport; and 4] the identification of “wanted” persons via the Immigration website.

Madam President, you will already be aware of the wide consultation employed to update the Work Permit Policies of the Department of Immigration. In December 2014, I announced that the new policies had been completed, awaiting implementation at March 1, 2015, after the associated work permit fees were tabled in the House of Assembly. I am pleased to announce that the new work permit fees were passed in the House of Assembly on Friday, February 13, 2015.

Madam President, not only were new fees required, but the new policies gave rise to the requirement to update and introduce new work permit application forms.

During the week of February 9, 2015, the Department of Immigration conducted Information Sessions with key stakeholders, including the Bermuda Employers’ Council, the Bermuda Hotel Association, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Bermuda Insurance Companies, the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, the Bermuda Human Resource Association, and the Construction Association of Bermuda.

The application forms will no longer be printed by the Bermuda Press Limited. As a part of the Department of Immigration’s cost-cutting exercise, the forms will only be available on the Immigration website at www.immigration.gov.bm.

Employers and applicants will be able to complete the forms online and print them for submission with all relevant documentation to complete the work permit application.

Madam President, you may be aware that work permits issued by the Department of Immigration are paper-based and the work permit is required for presentation upon entry into Bermuda.

Because the permits are paper-based, there has been a tendency for the permit to be folded excessively and/or damaged. While some work permit holders have taken the initiative to laminate their permits, in an attempt to preserve them, permits that have been laminated have not been accepted by the Department of Immigration.

Madam President, to fix the above and improve upon Immigration’s service product, new Work Permit Cards will be made available to all work permit holders; short term, global, new business, global entrepreneur, standard, periodic, and special category work permit holders and to sponsored dependants [partners and children].

The card’s primary aim is to facilitate travel to/from Bermuda. It will replace the current paper work permit document; paper documents will only be issued for employers’ and Immigration’s files.

The Work Permit Card, which will be laminated, is bigger than a credit card, but slightly smaller than a passport page. It will allow the permits to be more durable and the card can be easily stored on one’s person, thus making it more accessible.

Madam President, the card will also provide the card holder with a faster, more streamlined, experience whilst being processed at any of Bermuda’s air passenger arrival facilities.

The Work Permit Card is featured with a Machine Readable Zone [MRZ] and can replace the permit holder’s passport [for landing at the L.F. Wade International Airport] and be read by passport readers [Note permit holders will still require their passport whilst transiting through overseas gateway locations].

Since the permit holder’s travel details and purpose of entry are encapsulated in the MRZ, the card will facilitate faster processing times for cardholders at all Bermuda points of entry.

Madam President, to prevent fraudulent reproduction of the cards, the front of the card has been embossed with a security foil, which is fashioned in the image of the island of Bermuda.

A fee of $145 will apply for each work permit card issuance. At March 1, 2015, both current and first-time [new to Bermuda] work permit holders and their sponsored dependants can apply for a work permit card.

Madam President, a new work permit card will also be issued to resident work permit holders and their sponsored dependants under the following circumstances:

  • if the card has been lost, damaged or stolen;
  • if the employer’s name changes [where a person moves to a new employer; in a merger, the current work permit card should remain and be changed after it expires];
  • if the card holder’s name changes; and
  • when the card expires

Madam President, the third initiative to be implemented at March 1, 2015 is the introduction of a Business Visitor Line at the L.F. Wade International Airport.

Madam President, new pop-up banners will be placed in the arrivals hall for the following passenger categories:

  • Line 1 – for Bermudians, PRC holders, spouses and dependants of Bermudians and of PRC holders, and Residential Certificate holders
  • Line 2 – for Work Permit Holders
  • Line 3 – for Visitors
  • Line 4 – for Business Visitors

Madam President, the last initiative by the Department of Immigration relates to “wanted” posters for “wanted” persons.

In December 2014, the Chief Immigration Officer sought advice from the Attorney General’s Chambers as to whether the Department of Immigration could use “wanted” posters in an attempt to find person’s who are in Bermuda illegally. Advice was received that confirmed the Department can proceed with such an initiative.

Madam President, the Department of Immigration is currently searching for at least one foreign national who is in Bermuda illegally [without the Minister’s permission].

To this end, the Department of Immigration will be seeking the general public’s assistance for “Wanted Persons” via the Department’s website. These will normally be persons where all other avenues to find them have been exhausted.

Thank you, Madam President.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Ian says:

    Wonder how many of the pro-OBA ankle biters are going to throw words like xenophobic and anti-foreigner around the same wat they did when the PLP proposed work permit cards. They usually fall back on amnesia in moments like this! Lol

    • hmmm says:

      This is just for immigration purposes, not something to carry on person at all times. Two completely different things.

      If ever ID cards to be carried at all times came into play, we would all have to carry them. That’s how that works. Saying I am Bermudian wouldn’t cut it. Burch’s hue and cry was more of a divisive measure to further create a divisive them and us mentality…it’s what the PLP do.

      • Ian says:

        Im so sure hmmm. Interesting how that sort of patient, “objective” reasoning only applies one way isnt it?? I would think you would be old/experienced enough to know that youre just as subject to the same age old flaws (like bias) as most others who think they are intelligent to be immune to it.

        • hmmm says:

          The facts are the facts. You only have to go read the quotes of the day to see that.

          • SSWhite says:

            i see your problem HMMM – you believe quotes on bernews to be fact…pathetic

            • hmmm says:

              When it is quotes in quotation marks that are identified as quotes from that person in the news story then YES I DO. Sometimes the context may be missing, but the quotes are the quotes.

      • More Politricks says:

        The cards are the size of credit cards RIGHT? So why wouldn’t they have them on their person all the time like a credit card! What’s crazy is when the PLP wanted to do this the OBA government of the day said it was a crazy idea. More Politricks from the OBA Circus :)

        • hmmm says:

          No, they are a little bigger than a credit card it apparently. I think any individual that has a document that allows them to enter a country wouldn’t carry it around, but put it in a very safe place until needed, probably with their passport.

        • pagetgirl says:

          They are NOT credit card size (obviously, that would make more sense and easy for guest workers!). They are slightly smaller than a passport page so won’t fit it a wallet. Also the cost is $145 per card? Who pays that, the employer or employee? we have 2 kids so the cost is $145 times 4?

      • Read again says:

        Hey did you not read the minister’s statement?

        “The Work Permit Card, which will be laminated, is bigger than a credit card, but slightly smaller than a passport page. It will allow the permits to be more durable

        and the card can be easily stored on one’s person,

        thus making it more accessible”

        He even says store the card on you!!!

        • hmmm says:

          He’s talking about it being easier to store and have at hand when travelling ! nowhere did he say that cards need to be carrier on your person at all times.

          Talk about inventing things out of context.

          when you have bag , travel docs, kids etc in tow, it is awkward to have this full sized piece of paper in your hand too…Also it’s paper so can get torn or damaged more easily, so the new card has better longevity.

          If it were me, and I had a paper document I’d want this as a preference.

          I have a passport that identifies me to immigration as Bermudian, but I don’t carry that on me at all times.

      • Truth Teller says:

        What a weak and dishonest argument on the part of “Hmmmm”…..consistent with his racist paranoid view of the world that he thinly disguises behind ‘colour blind racist” tropes>

        I guess in his mind poor white Bermudians are the new victims of racism by black Bermudians and their party of choice the PLP.

        If the PLP comes up with the same idea its the black Nazi’s at work.But if the OBA and Fahy -the great defender of privilege – come up with the same idea; it is simply wise and prudent.

        A caring government at work.

        How convenient.

        • hmmm says:

          Why do you assume I’m white?????

        • Ed Case says:

          Truth Taller: How typical that when you have no argument to make – you make it about race.

    • jt says:

      Amnesia…I wish.

    • Mockingjay says:

      @ Ian its called the two Bermuda’s Syndrome.
      Just like they are quiet on Jet Gate, Casino Gate, Referendum Gate, G.P. license plate Gate, Secret Taping Gate, Voting Bribe Gate, Suspended Contracts Gate(Harbor Front, still have not heard the outcome of that case), Tuckers Town Gate, B.T.A. Gate( the CEO making over $7,000 a week and the Reefs owner and his associates of Nine Beaches owing Govt., and the PROMISE of 2000 jobs, which ironically he just fired 8 workers to hire Friends and Family, Phewww just to name a FEW.

      • Creamy says:

        Ok, let’s take an example.
        Voting bribe gate? What the hell is that?
        Details. I say you’re full of s***. As always, you kunta.

        • SSWhite says:

          problem is creamy you refuse to look in the mirror – you are so blindly married to the oba and its ideals you cannot see that they are in essence flawed and biased to a segment of society just like the plp was. now that that segment is people that look like you, you can give their bs a free pass. i will say it again…any government is usually bad government especially ones with UNELECTED ministers….

  2. sage says:

    I.D. cards, kernel Burch idea. Can we become bounty hunters?

  3. Sky Pilot says:

    Jobs for Bounty Hunters!

  4. Serious Though says:

    Spouses of Bermudians still carrying the paper … Mr Minister

  5. Tyler Durden says:

    Maybe the expats can wear little colored triangles on their clothing so that they can be readily identified by Immigration officers.

  6. Terry says:

    It all comes down to what you put on the immigration landing form.

    Hell. I have been working here for years and saying ‘visit’.

    Who is following me.

    I need a rum.

    • Impressive says:

      ohh i see,, learn something everyday..

      • hmmm says:

        No, you’d need a return ticket from where you came, before they let you in if you say visit.

  7. ABC says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X36aD3UbIPI

    Anonymous Official Movie 2015 – How to Kill the Illuminati/New World Order. (2015 US Edition) true facts and its in bermuda to

    • SSWhite says:

      good film abc most of the blind sheep on this island are not ready for the truth. that is good for people like you and me when the chips are down….

  8. Joe Public says:

    Business visitor line lol when I came back the other day it was 5 officers working so I stood in the visitor line and got out faster. I ask the officer why was the line for people living in Bermuda moving so slow she pointed at the premier’s photo in back of her and said ask him.

    • hmmm says:

      So did you?

    • Y-Gurl says:

      Sounds like a civil servants attitude needs adjusting!

    • Question? says:

      So why is the line taking so long? When I flew in the customs officer was just staring at the screen in limbo. I travel every two weeks for business and I’m thinking don’t you have my information already.

  9. Coffee says:

    What type of regime is the OBA instituting with this I.D. Card ? Is this the thin edge of the wedge in the misalignment of the basic human rights for our guest worker ? No other country in the world makes guest workers carry around identification cards .

    • Impressive says:

      sattire,, lol,, do you have any grey poupon sir..

    • Creamy says:

      Er, read the article, idiot. It’s a replacement forbthe current work permit. It is only needed when you enter Bermuda.

      • Impressive says:

        He is being sarcastic,,, the one who goes around calling people idiot.. He is only saying what the OBA said about the very same idea when it was brought up by the PLP in 2008..

        • serengetiperson says:

          It wasn’t the “very same idea” though, was it.

          The PLP wanted expatriates to have to carry ID cards wherever they went. This is not the same at all.

  10. sobbing_sob says:

    Such drivel being spouted on here. To clarify, work permits today are on a4 paper, very archaic. Proposal is to introduce a smaller, more convenient card for travel. Not the type of ID the blessed PLP proposed a few years ago, where it would have been mandatory for all permit holders to have on their person 24/7. Apples and oranges.

    OBA: making everyone’s lives easier, one small step at a time.

    P.S. shouldn’t ‘wanted persons’ read ‘unwanted person’s?

  11. Barbie says:

    $145 for a card. that’s expensive. Does this mean all current work permit holders have to apply for a card?

  12. chip says:

    O.b.a times running out? And all your incuse will fall America cup not going to save u! lot of angry people tax payers money

  13. Catherine Greet says:

    Why can’t immigration put a stamp in the guest workers passport to indicate they are guest workers along with the dates of their permit??? A good old $10.00 rubber stamp! This would negate the need for any extra papers/cards and be much more cost effective for both Gubmt and the worker. Like a visa, and similar to the stamp that states “Holder is registered as a Bermudian” Don’t know why it’s such an issue…..isn’t that what passports are for….why make it any more complicated than that? Employers have already paid dearly for these permits and then another $145.00 bucks for a plastic card that could easily be lost seems excessive! For goodness sake, Immigration has a hard enough time keeping up with processing these permits as it is and this is just one more seemingly unnecessary bit of red tape!

    • no stamps says:

      Say a permit holder has renewed 3 times in a 10 year period, had countless promotions, and moved companies – those stamps will add up for a passport that is valid for 10 years (e.g. UK). Then let’s consider how long it will take immigration to find the latest version of the stamp to verify it is still valid…. and they’re so efficient as it stands.

      Holder is registered as a Bermudian is a one-off stamp.

      • Naive Observer says:

        The endorsement can be electronic, pop up when you scan the passport. Zero pages required.

        Sheesh, isn’t this stuff obvious? Every guest worker has to have a passport (Dr. Brown’s invited guests excepted) so tie it to that. If the worker renews the passport they pop down to the immigration office and get the electronic work permit endorsement transferred to their new passport. That would take oh, 30 seconds. Zero paper, plastic etc. and there you go. They could also link the work permit electronically to other documents such as a drivers license, so Immigration wanted to check the status of workers on a site they would have a variety of photo ID documents they could produce and check.

        • no stamps says:

          All of this to come from a department that uses little yellow pieces of paper to register your valuable items …. right, dream on.

          Google also makes driverless cars.

  14. Bermuda123 says:

    This is purely to make the permits more durable when traveling (right now they are usually falling to bits as they are carried on and off island in passport wallets so frequently). In my opinion, we would not need them at all if we just made the records electronic; however if you are going to require a hard copy, then at least make it laminated and durable. Can we just focus on what is important here?

    Well done with the business visitor line.

  15. Alvin Williams says:

    I am waiting for the dead or alive wanted posters for all those foreign workers working in Bermuda illegally and since the private/public tourism authority is giving away interest free loans; I wonder if this government is going to give out awards if Bermudians turn in some of those illegal workers with a extra bonus if they don’t have their cards?

  16. Infidelguy says:

    Wow!! ID cards? Really?

    Wasn’t this same idea brought up during the PLP administration and labeled doctorial?

    And all of you OBA cohorts are on board with this? Unbelievable!!

    Just goes to show that it’s not what you say in this country but who is saying it?

    • Ashamed... says:

      It is not the same. This is one is to replace the paper work permit currently stapled into a passport.

      The PLP’s idea was to mandate that ex-pats carry these all the time in the event that Immigration came to a work site they can demand that individuals to show this ID. Even Col. Burch had to defend it by saying it is not a ‘gestapo tactic’ when he first introduced it.

      And if they couldn’t produce the ID card, which was to include their employer, job and work permit parameters, they can be hauled away by Immigration officers right then and there.

      That approach is eerily similar to the gold stars painted on Jews during the Nazi era. And as you can see from comments of pro-PLP supporters above they even go further with advocating that such identification actually tattooed onto the person!

      Apples and oranges I am afraid. But I assume that won’t stop the silly comparisons and allegations. Carry on.