Fahy: ‘Changes Ensure Bermudians Come First’

March 3, 2015

“The Government has implemented many positive changes to ensure Bermudians come first,” Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said today [Mar 3], adding that  ”we remain focused to ensure Bermudians find opportunity.”

This follows after some confusion about whether the spouses and children of work permit holders would be allowed to seek work, which resulted in a spirited debate in the House of Assembly yesterday.

The policy document defines a sponsored dependant as a “partner or child of a work permit holder” and says “sponsored dependants of the work permit holder may be given permission to reside with the work permit holder and seek employment provided that the sponsor submits proof of financial support for the sponsored dependants.”

Earlier today, Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown said, “With unemployment at record levels and job losses continuing to mount, permitting the children and partners of guest workers to compete for jobs with our children and partners, is a slap in the face to every right thinking Bermudian.”

The Ministry then said, “To make it absolutely clear the intent of the policy, the following will be added to the section on sponsored dependents, For the avoidance of doubt, sponsored dependent children are only given permission to reside, not seek employment.”

In a subsequent statement, Minister Fahy said, “For the avoidance of doubt, dependent partners of work permit holders may seek employment but they are still subject to the work permit regime. In other words they must obtain a work permit. Dependent children are not able to seek employment.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below

This Government has implemented many positive changes to ensure Bermudians come first:

  • 1. Implementation of a recruitment disclosure form which requires employers to list all those applicants who applied for an advertised position and give reasons why suitable Bermudians, Spouses and PRC holders are not eligible. This is reviewed by technical officers and the Board before a work permit can be issued.
  • 2. Introduction of a civil penalty regime that gives enforcement powers to the Chief Immigration Officer. This allows for fines of $5000 for the first offence and $10,000 for a second.
  • 3. All unsuccessful Bermudians, Spouses and PRC applicants must be advised in writing of their unsuccessful application and copies of letters must be available for inspection by Immigration if requested.
  • 4. Companies that have more than 10 permits in a particular category may be asked to participate in National Training Board initiatives. Such participation will be considered before permits are issued.
  • 5. Companies must advertise on the job board for eight consecutive days in addition to the newspaper three times over eight days. The Job Board is free and is accessible on Cablevision. Job seekers can register on line as well.
  • 6. Short term permits will not be granted in most circumstances without advertising the position first.
  • 7. To encourage overseas training of Bermudians a policy has been implemented to encourage companies to do the same.
  • 8. A National Training Plan has been ‎developed with the implementation phase in development.
  • 9. Reduced red tape for employers through a streamlined process for new business and entrepreneurs.
  • 10. A new work permit policy that had been subject to wide consultation and input with new forms available on line.
  • 11. Availability of a card for work permit holders to facilitate travel.
  • 12. Introduction of wanted posters to help the compliance section find persons wanted by the Department of Immigration.
  • 13. Employers more than 90 days behind on social and health insurance payments that do not have a payment plan ‎in place will not be granted work permits.

All these changes strike the right balance to help Bermudians as well as business. This Government has been willing to tackle difficult areas. At all times we remain focused to ensure Bermudians find opportunity.

It makes no sense at all to not be focused on that. I urge the public to consider the above changes which will assist Bermudians as well as businesses, both big and small.‎

Finally and for the avoidance of doubt, dependent partners of work permit holders may seek employment but they are still subject to the work permit regime. In other words they must obtain a work permit. Dependent children are not able to seek employment. The policy has been made absolutely clear and was already clear to stakeholders.

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Comments (51)

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  1. Sickofantz says:

    I hope he apologised to Walton Brown.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      I’m sure you mean Walton Brown should apologise to Min Fahy. The PLP were all stirred up last night in the House, making all kinds of accusations. Faux rage again twisting the truth. Talk about trust deficit.

      • Cubicle2B says:

        The bigger issue is the number of companies abusing the Key Job Maker act which is essentially giving hundreds of people their PRC status for $25k.

        http://bda.bm/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/29-Oct-14-bda-job-makers.pdf

        These people then don’t have to apply for work permits and essentially block Bermudians from moving up.
        I agree with the concept of the Key Job Makers act but it is being abused. This policy needs to be reviewed and the role needs to be save for those who are truly KEY.
        Some companies are even promising Key Employee status as an incentive to hiring expats from other companies.
        ‘Why complain when nothing will be done?’ seems to be the common feeling by Bermudians at these companies.

        http://bda.bm/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/29-Oct-14-bda-job-makers.pdf

    • Hahahaha says:

      First the oba is trying to grow islands jobs by bringing in more work permits then they say Bermudians come first. Which is it you can’t have your cake and eat it to. Someone has to be sacrifice. It seems that in this case it’s the Bermudian. Don’t worry all the work permits will vote for you next election.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Just goes to show much you know. You need a civics lesson.

      • ohno says:

        why dont you read the article, fool!!!
        Take a lesson in written comprehension, i can tell you didnt pass school

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        We’re sacrificing now, bringing in workers for jobs that Bermudians either can’t or are unwilling to fill helps the economy which in turn helps to build more business which means more jobs available for Bermudians, and yes, probably more work permit holders as well, and so on.

        It’s fairly simple.

    • Mockingjay says:

      Shut the Island down, AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. GTA says:

    Thank you for the clarification. Hopefully this will quell the hot air of “betrayal” coming from the PLP camp!

    • Mockingjay says:

      He got called out.. while he is on vacation he e-mailed her to try to clarify his F!@#up
      He’s FULL OFF S!@# !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. tired says:

    LIES, LIES & MORE LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sky Pilot says:

      and you have just posted LIES!
      MWHAAaaaaaaaaaaa!

  4. Mr. Fahy you are not in my view the right person for the position you hold neither do I trust your government to do right by the people, if your words are to be true and correct in this present economic climate, I would recommend that you take a hard look at the governments workforce empowerment department, and go over all the names and the list of those who still find themselves unemployed, then go to the private sector and all their employment agencies and see just how many Bermudians are unemployed.

    Gone are the days you can just blame the unemployed to be folk that just don’t want to work, or folk that either sit on a wall or just plain unemployable, That B.S is yesterday and gone. The reality is that you have many middle class citizens as well as very educated Bermudians that both are finding themselves unemployed and now that Government is about to show it’s hand and follow suit of the private sector and start letting government workers go, I would think it is high time we get real and damn serious about saving as many Bermudians and their families as possible by keeping them employed.

    Take a hard long look at the job market and those that are employed in this country that are not from here, let the government foot the bill in paying back the employer for the work permit of the foreigner they had to pay to bring in, and send these people back to their home country
    I would like for you to know that I would like to see Bermudians delivering bread to the local stores, I would like to see Bermudians cleaning the rich and wealthy homes and walking their dogs, and taking and driving their cars to take the children to and from school and picking up the groceries, I would like to see Bermudian kitchen porters and restaurant workers, Bermudian plumbers and carpenters and Bermudian construction workers and the list goes on.

    Please don’t give us this crap about us coming first when all we see is people who don’t look like us, getting a better share of the pie. I went to money gram the other day and just happen to be next in line behind a foreigner who was sending $600 out of the country back home, I told the lady I am so glad that she has the opportunity to do for her family and to be able to have a full time job, but I am more dishearten that my own people is being disadvantage and being exploited by our very own in our government by allowing people like her to continue taking food out of our mouths.

    Mr Fahy don’t think your words convince the majority because they don’t. when you show us in a large scale that you and your government are ready to send folk back to their country and give Bermudians the jobs they deserve then we can take you serious, until then your words are falling on deaf ears.

    • enough says:

      “…. behind a foreigner who was sending $600 out of the country back home, I told the lady I am so glad that she has the opportunity to do for her family and to be able to have a full time job…”

      I’m sure that’s exactly what that lady took from being commented at as she used this facility. Passive aggressive and audacious.

      • Cardine Alice says:

        Perhaps if you showed some courtesy, apply for a job like hers (if you did it would be yours), did a good job like she does, saved, made sacrifices, left your country to find employment thousands of miles from home just to send money back to them, learnt some civility you to could be just like her. You are not owed a living. How she spends her money is none of your business. Acting like a spoilt, entitled child without any appreciation of where your money/investment comes from (foreign) will see places like Cayman continie to boom, while you inflate your prices, milk the foreigners and wait for the next gravy train to come along.

        • Mockingjay says:

          I don’t blame people coming here a raping the Island and sending it back where they’re from , blame yourselves for allowing it, bunch of spineless wimps.
          And I hope U.B.P keep flogging our @$$e$ until we bleed.

        • @ Cardine Alice When I speak I would like to think I not only speak the way I think or see things but the way it is in the hearts and minds of many others, and if you really review your comments and think clearly, you would see with the present condition that we all face as a people in this country, just how asinine you really sound.

      • Cardine Alice says:

        Probably looks racist as well….

    • Sky Pilot says:

      you view dosn’t count to many people!

    • BDAFriend says:

      “Please don’t give us this crap about us coming first when all we see is people who don’t look like us, getting a better share of the pie.”

      What does a Bermudian look like?

    • WOW says:

      “People who don’t look like us”

      Racist much?

    • Edmund Spenser says:

      So, if you send all the expat actuaries home who does the work? There aren’t enough Bermudian actuaries to fill the jobs. If IB leaves because they can’t get employees capable of doing the job what does Bermuda look like? I challenge you to live in the Bermuda you are asking for, for 24 hours. Just 24 hours without the benefit of IB and then write a letter if that is really the Bermuda you want.

      • ivory tower says:

        We survived without ib for nearly 400 years f off dude. I have a garden and livestock i don’t need you and your fake money in my country.

        • reefs says:

          “We survived without ib for nearly 400 years f off dude. I have a garden and livestock i don’t need you and your fake money in my country.”

          How ignorant of you.
          I’m sure you can survive on your garden and livestock.
          How do you think Bermuda pays for anything? You’ll have to do without electricity, fuel….everything. You certainly won’t be posting anything online, since you wont have a computer or internet access.

        • Noncents says:

          @ivory tower

          =idiot

    • Longtail says:

      “Mr Fahy don’t think your words convince the majority because they don’t. when you show us in a large scale that you and your government are ready to send folk back to their country and give Bermudians the jobs they deserve then we can take you serious, until then your words are falling on deaf ears”.

      Duane, with all due respect you have demonstrated a big part of Bermuda’s problem….. it is NOT the jobs we as Bermudians “deserve”, but rather the jobs that we are QUALIFIED for that should an issue here.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      “… I would recommend that you take a hard look at the governments workforce empowerment department, and go over all the names and the list of those who still find themselves unemployed, then go to the private sector and all their employment agencies and see just how many Bermudians are unemployed.”

      I actually think this is a good idea, and not something just to be done by Min Fahy.

      But I would like to take things a step further and do what every good business owner/manager does and check a bit further than their nationality. Contact previous employers for references, contact places they’ve applied and find out if a permit holder was brought in for the job and why.

      I hear a lot of things from both sides, but I think there’s more information we need to know in the details.

      Come on, both sides, prove your points.

  5. Terry says:

    Someone clarify.
    “changes”.
    An amendment to the Act?
    Will it be presented in the HOA?

    Avoidance of doubt”?

    More propaganda from the left wing PLP.

    Brown and Company

  6. Huh says:

    If only Walton and his crew had got this wound up when the PLP was creating massive Bermudian unemployment and massive non-Bermudian employment during their 14 years of economic terrorism…

  7. Sick & Tired says:

    All this sounds fine and dandy, however having experienced this myself with the current immigration poicy, the Department of Immigration relies on the honesty of the employer to submit the applications or to say honestly that no Bermudians applied. We know fair well right now that some employers are not doing this, or are writing job descriptions in order to rule out Bermudians, hence this policy is right up their alley!

    • We the People (1st!!) says:

      This is very true.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      There’ve always (at least 25 years) been job descriptions written for specific purposes, this is nothing new. I know those in the paper used to be checked daily for unreasonable required qualifications. I have no idea if this is done now.

      I’ve no doubt that there remain business that do things to thwart the employment policies, but I don’t think that it’s the majority that do this. Most employers I know strongly prefer Bermudian employees if thay can or are willing to do the job.

      Side note, it would be nice if both the OBA and PLP people would actually consistently Buy Bermuda, it would help if everyone did their best to keep things here and not spending money overseas.

  8. We the People (1st!!) says:

    I know how much we like to play politics and attack parties and people rather than having a mature discussion on the policy and topic at hand. So I am going to give this a try.

    Statement from the article:
    The policy document defines a sponsored dependant as a “partner or child of a work permit holder” and says “sponsored dependants of the work permit holder may be given permission to reside with the work permit holder and seek employment provided that the sponsor submits proof of financial support for the sponsored dependants.” For the avoidance of doubt, sponsored dependent children are only given permission to reside, not seek employment.”

    Question: What is the defined age range that the children of the work permit holder can be considered dependent? For example, I cannot see how government can give “dependent” children over the age of 18 or 22 full rights to reside here but deny them the right to work here. I don’t see how that could stand legally. Maybe someone with a legal background could provide insight in this.

    With so many Bermudians unemployed or even underemployed, is this really the best policy at this time?

    • Onion says:

      A later section makes it clear that the work permit policy still applies as it would any other non-Bermudian.

      • We the People (1st!!) says:

        Thanks. However, I am not disputing that.

        The issue is with what has been stated “For the avoidance of doubt, sponsored dependent children are only given permission to reside, not seek employment.” This statement doesn’t mean dependent children cannot work here. They just can’t seek (actively search) for a job.

        My query is how government can say ‘yeah you can reside (live here) but you cannot work.’ Whether they (children) need a work permit or not. I just do not see how legally that stance holds any water.

        Keep in mind the question I typed above; What is the defined age range that the children of the work permit holder can be considered dependent?

        I don’t have a problem with parts of this policy per se. I have no issue with letting a dependent spouse seek employment (it may even be the right thing to do), if the number of Bermudian unemployment wasn’t currently very high. I do not know the exact numbers. However, I am confident there are over 1,500 Bermudians unemployed. So lets give a lowball number and say 250 dependants of work permit holders qualify to reside and seek employment here right now. That is 250 extra people competing AGAINST the unemployed Bermudians for a job. In a job market that is continuing making many peoples job redundant.

        This policy should only be implemented when we can get the Bermudian unemployment to much lower numbers.

  9. Immigration consultant says:

    Thankyou Minister Fahy.
    The 14 yr reign that allowed anyone to come into Bermuda and work, IS OVER!

    • We the People (1st!!) says:

      Come on… Really?

      Do you truly believe what you typed?

      Question: Is what you are saying true and can be verified that “anyone” was allowed to come to Bermuda and work?

      If not what you are saying is a LIE. Stop it!!

  10. Unbelievable says:

    I don’t know what’s right or wrong anymore.

    Ok so…..the policy allowing children of expats to work was removed today or was it never even in the final document?

    • Unbelievable says:

      This was a question. How can someone “dislike” it? What’s wrong with some of you people?

      Someone answer it please.

    • BDA Friend says:

      It was never in the document. Some trash talk went around that said it was and to definitively quiet it, the government added explicit amendments.

      • Unbelievable says:

        So what’s the PLP complaining about?

  11. Vote for Me says:

    Check the handsard to see if Junior Minister Sylvan Richards stated the children of work permit holders could apply for jobs? You might be surprised to know that he agrees with MP Walton Brown!!

    We need to get away from a ‘shoot the messenger’ bias when responding to posts on Bernews!!

  12. somuchless says:

    Locals come last. That’s what the title should read.

  13. Impressive says:

    “Bermudians come first” cho.. I read that and get the same response that I would hearing a shady weather service telling me its going be a bright sunny day tomorrow. Having heard that I will be carrying my entire rain suit.. Actually forget the bike, there could be lightning, I’m driving.

  14. Richard gusob says:

    The OBA and the PLP for that matter are such a muppet show.

  15. Coffee says:

    How do you know if M.Fahye is lying ? Watch his lips ! If they move they’ll automatically form a lie !

  16. A thought for today:
    “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have.” -Emile Chartier, philosopher (3 Mar 1868-1951)
    The Opposition, (Progressive Labour Party’s main objective is to insult them in the One Bermuda Alliance Government…at any cost!!! Sad yes, but true :-(

  17. swing voter says:

    I think that the instant jobs given the Uighurs was the most blatant example of bending Immigration policy ;-) but the policy gaff allowing dependents to seek employment is running a close 2nd. I only wish the Opposition was as vocal over a whole lot of stuff when they were the Government 8 yrs ago.

  18. Alvin Williams says:

    Twist and turns par for the course for the OBA government’s Minister of foreign employment procurement.