Minister Outlines Job Makers Act Amendments

March 27, 2015

Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said that the process for applications for concessions under the Incentive for Job Makers Act, will now “require that employers formally notify all current employees of their intent to make such applications.”

Speaking in the Senate on Wednesday [Mar 25], Minister Fahy said, “Under the Incentive for Job Makers Act a company can apply for and obtain concessions that include having their senior executives, who are responsible for the continued presence of jobs for Bermudians in Bermuda, exempt from needing a work permit.

Companies must have a minimum of 10 Bermudian staff and may be eligible if they meet these conditions:

  • They have Bermudians at all levels, i.e. entry, middle and senior levels, of the company, subject to the availability of suitably qualified Bermudians
  • They have entry level positions held by Bermudians graduating from high school or college;
  • They have programmes to develop and promote Bermudians; and
  • They employ fair employment practices.

“The aforementioned requirements are not a one size fits all model,” Minister Fahy added. “For example, smaller companies and newly incorporated companies that may not have as many staff but are still making a tangible and significant contribution to Bermuda can submit applications under the Incentives for Job Makers Act.

Subsequent to approvals for exemptions, senior executives may also become eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident’s Certificate [PRC].

Minister Fahy said that since the amendments of December 17, 2013 the following statistics apply: concessions for companies saw 43 approved and 1 in process, exemptions for senior executives saw 100 approved and 3 in process, while PRCs saw 51 approved.

“For applications for concessions, we have had less than five applications denied and only one  application has been put on hold,” Minister Fahy said.

“In a very small number of applications the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Immigration have had concerns with respect to training and development programmes and the promotion of Bermudians within companies.

“Where we have had concerns, applications have been delayed while clarification has been sought. For example, since the Act requires suitable training programmes to be in place to train Bermudians, the technical officer has correctly made inquiries as to the identity of those Bermudians who have in fact been trained.

“In an effort to ensure the goals of the amendments to the Incentives for Job Makers Act are fully realized – to retain jobs for Bermudians in Bermuda and make Bermuda a more attractive place to do business – the process for applications for concessions and exemptions will now require that employers formally notify all current employees of their intent to make such applications.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs Headquarters will prepare a form letter for employers to send to their employees,” added the Minister.

“The letter, which will include the guidelines/conditions that must be met to qualify for the concessions and exemptions, will invite employees to submit concerns to incentives@gov.bm. This email account will be regularly checked by the administrative support team at the Ministry and submissions will be held in strict confidence.

“Employers will be required to notify employees via email. Where employees do not have access to emails, the notification should be communicated in hard-copy and should be placed on office bulletin boards. Employees will be given 14 days [from date of distribution of the internal notification] to submit concerns.”

“These changes will come into effect at April 1, 2015,” said the Minister. “I think the changes are a move in the right direction and will further assist in the retention of jobs for Bermudians and will allow Bermudians to voice their concerns.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Madam President, I wish to communicate that effective April 1, 2015, policy changes will be made to the application process for concessions and exemptions under the Incentive for Job Makers Act [as amended in 2013].

Madam President, you will recall that the Incentives for Job Makers Act was amended in 2013 to strengthen the incentives programme in an effort to retain jobs for Bermudians in Bermuda and make Bermuda a more attractive place to do business. Under the Incentive for Job Makers Act a company can apply for and obtain concessions that include having their senior executives, who are responsible for the continued presence of jobs for Bermudians in Bermuda, exempt from needing a work permit.

Madam President, the process remains that companies that submit applications must have a minimum of 10 Bermudian staff and may be eligible if they meet the following conditions:

  • [a] they have Bermudians at all levels, i.e. entry, middle and senior levels, of the company, subject to the availability of suitably qualified Bermudians;
  • [b] they have entry level positions held by Bermudians graduating from high school or college;
  • [c] they have programmes to develop and promote Bermudians; and
  • [d] they employ fair employment practices.

Madam President, the aforementioned requirements are not a one size fits all model. For example, smaller companies and newly incorporated companies that may not have as many staff but are still making a tangible and significant contribution to Bermuda can submit applications under the Incentives for Job Makers Act. Where the company is small and/or newly incorporated, the following key factors are considered:

  • [a] the size of the company;
  • [b] the significance of the company to the economy of Bermuda;
  • [c]the existing or likely economic situation in Bermuda;
  • [d] the protection of local interests; and
  • [e]generally, the interests of the community as a whole.

Madam President, applications for concessions are made under Section 3B of the Economic Development Act 1968 and exemptions are made under Section 5[1] of the same Act as read with Part V of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. Approvals for concessions and exemptions are given by the Minister of Home Affairs in consultation with the Minister of Economic Development.

Madam President, subsequent to approvals for exemptions, senior executives may also become eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident’s Certificate [PRC] under Section 31A of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956, of which the Minister of Home Affairs also has remit.

Madam President, to support the application process for concessions and exemptions and for PRCs, a guidance document under title “Incentives for Job Makers Guidelines for Employers” is also available at www.gov.bm.

Madam President, since the amendments at December 17, 2013 the following statistics apply:

Concessions for Companies:

• Approved – 43
• In process – 1

Exemptions for Senior Executives:
• Approved – 100
• In process – 3

PRCs
• Approved – 51

Madam President, for applications for concessions, we have had less than five [5] applications denied and only one [1] application has been put on hold.

Madam President, in a very small number of applications the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Immigration have had concerns with respect to training and development programmes and the promotion of Bermudians within companies.

Where we have had concerns, applications have been delayed while clarification has been sought. For example, since the Act requires suitable training programmes to be in place to train Bermudians, the technical officer has correctly made inquiries as to the identity of those Bermudians who have in fact been trained.

In some circumstances, albeit very limited, it was apparent that the named employees were not aware of their employer’s intent to apply for concessions and exemptions under the Incentives for Job Makers Act.

In addition, the current guidelines for Incentives for Job Makers do not explicitly make reference to an objection period whereby concerns/complaints can be submitted in confidence. Notwithstanding this, such concerns/complaints have been received and taken into consideration by the technical officer prior to recommendation to the Minister and considered by me and the Minister of Economic Development prior to approval or rejection.

Madam President, in an effort to ensure the goals of the amendments to the Incentives for Job Makers Act are fully realized – to retain jobs for Bermudians in Bermuda and make Bermuda a more attractive place to do business – the process for applications for concessions and exemptions will now require that employers formally notify all current employees of their intent to make such applications.

Madam President, the Ministry of Home Affairs Headquarters will prepare a form letter for employers to send to their employees. The letter, which will include the guidelines/conditions that must be met to qualify for the concessions and exemptions, will invite employees to submit concerns to incentives@gov.bm.

This email account will be regularly checked by the administrative support team at the Ministry and submissions will be held in strict confidence.

Madam President, employers will be required to notify employees via email. Where employees do not have access to emails, the notification should be communicated in hard-copy and should be placed on office bulletin boards.

Employees will be given fourteen [14] days [from date of distribution of the internal notification] to submit concerns. Concerns must be aligned with the said conditions found in the Act; i.e. one may submit a concern that relates to the company’s training and development programmes.

I pause here to emphasize that the Act does not necessitate that the individual senior executive directly train Bermudians. Rather, the requirement is that companies have programmes in place to develop and promote Bermudians. However, if by organizational design, a senior executive does train Bermudians, this would be a plus. This being said, all concerns by employees must be bona fide and the information must not be anecdotal.

Madam President, applications for concessions and exemptions can only be submitted after employers have notified all current employees of their intent to make applications because the application process will require that employers provide evidence of the internal notification.

Madam President, again, these changes will come into effect at April 1, 2015. I think the changes are a move in the right direction and will further assist in the retention of jobs for Bermudians and will allow Bermudians to voice their concerns.

For more information employers and employees can contact Mrs. Charleda Mahon Gibbons at the Ministry Headquarters at 295-5151, extension 1782 or cemgibbons@gov.bm.

Thank you Madam President.

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Comments (23)

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  1. Casual Observer says:

    “Employers will be required to notify employees via email. Where employees do not have access to emails, the notification should be communicated in hard-copy and should be placed on office bulletin boards. Employees will be given 14 days [from date of distribution of the internal notification] to submit concerns.”

    I commend the above new requirement allowing employees to voice their concerns of their employer.

    That should increase the awareness of the Ministry regarding employers who fail to meet the requirements despite the claims that they do.

  2. For anyone who didn’t understand what Law has come into “play”…
    (Read below)
    “Companies must have a minimum of 10 Bermudian staff and may be eligible if they meet these conditions:
    They have Bermudians at all levels, i.e. entry, middle and senior levels, of the company, subject to the availability of suitably qualified Bermudians
    They have entry level positions held by Bermudians graduating from high school or college;
    They have programmes to develop and promote Bermudians; and
    They employ fair employment practices.”

  3. Coffee says:

    Even more PRC’s !

    • Dude says:

      YEAH!

    • Greeny says:

      Grow up

    • Drink Water says:

      @Coffee, if you take a moment and be honest with yourself and trace your lineage I trust you will find that your parents, or grandparent or great grandparents were probably the equivalent of what we now call PRCs. Everyone on this island came from elsewhere. When the Portuguese discovered Bermuda, when the Spanish arrived and even when the English landed on our shores, there was nobody here. Just Boars!

      We are all a generation away from PRCs.

  4. SAD says:

    Lies and more lies the guest workers are treated with Royalty whilst Bermudians are being handled like garbage. What I see happening in the hospitality industry is unreal. Everybody got the permits renewed even though hundreds of Bermudians apply and are very capable. Promotions for all guest workers on top of that the job description is altered for them, they don’t even need to have qualifications and being trained whilst holding the position how bout that. Whilst you have locals that can preform the duties with their eyes closed.. Just so sickening One particular hotel has been reported many times nothing has yet to be done. Bermudians are being told “YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE A JOB AND THIS IS BY THE UNION AS WELL AS IMMIGRATION” Who do you turn too??? I see and hear how the guest workers in this industry particular say that their family’s live good and all there monies goes home to their families mean while we are struggling to just feed our kids. BERMUDIANS WE NEED TO TAKE OVER WHAT WE IMMPLIMENTED NOW. Immigration please stop selling LIES!!!!

    • @ SAD: If you have so much information but don’t report them that are / have been breaking the Laws then start with blaming yourself first…
      “Your own fleas bite the hardest” Sad but true :-(

      • SAD says:

        @raymond ray can you not read? It has been reported many times.. i guess you are a flea…smh you just sit up and blog faults all day every day…Get a life!!!!

        • @ SAD your seem to be doing the same thing, I quote you. “i guess you are a flea…smh you just sit up and blog faults all day every day… Get a life!!!!”
          As for a life, I live a great life, one you can (if don’t already have one)possibly wish for one like mine. :-) Now go have yourself a great day.

    • Never Give Up says:

      IMMPLIMENTED? Is that a word even?

      Better get that spellcheck working before the next application goes out.

      Mean while (meanwhile) there(their) monies are going elsewhere.

      • SAD says:

        Ok are you serious. When you are writing with frustration and quickly errors can occur..NO I DID NOT ATTEND UNIVERSITY BUT HAVE COMMON SENSE which is very important.. have no time to watch the small things..

        • Hmmm says:

          Maybe that is why you are not getting promoted. In hospitality, the small things make a huge difference to our visitors.

        • Jus Wonderin' says:

          Maybe you should take a couple courses somewhere…how can you get a decent job without a degree? smh

  5. TRUE says:

    OK sounds like a fair winner.

  6. Tough Love says:

    Employees if you do write in , do not use your work email, because that is not confidential from your employer.

  7. ..... says:

    @SAD

    This legislation is geared more towards Exempt Companies and not necessarily the Hospitality Industry.

    And on your point, I worked in the Hospitality Industry for years at various places of employment and in various positions. Guest Workers do not get treated like royalty at all. In fact they are sometimes treated more harshly than their Bermudian counterparts.

    • SAD says:

      Ok but i’m frustrated with how its all put into play. And i have been in the industry over 20 years!!! And i have watch and experienced the change…

  8. cromwell says:

    Another misguided attempt by a failing Bermuda state government creating more complicated rules and regulations which will end up creating less jobs than we have now. The OBA is looking more and more like a centralized socialist state than the PLP was. The OBA was not supposed to be another failed UBP it was going to be new and fresh not like the old way.

    To move Bermuda forward you cant continue to use the past failed policy methods of the UBP and the PLP. Bermuda needs a fresh breath of freedom with attendant responsibility for the decisions a business makes not more responsibility taken away by those who actually create jobs.

    Its like some kind of bad joke where government is giving away concessions to subsidize inefficiency where there shouldn’t be any subsidy for continuing an unsustainable business.

    If this is how the OBA policy is going to run I expect they will continue to borrow more money and to support the unsustainable putting the country further in debt.

    My message for the OBA is to stop the double speak and make the hard decisions to repair the damage the PLP did. That is why majority of the people votes for you in the first place.

    STOP THE ROT don’t create more rot.

    • Jus Wonderin' says:

      They want to make the hard decisions but people seem to protest everytime they try to do. Straight up it’s either continue with a job with some cutbacks or don’t have a job.

  9. Bermuda123 says:

    SAD – please approach Minister Fahy directly with your specifics. I feel you must be missing something as Immigration is primarily staffed with Bermudians who are unlikely to not listen to your concerns if valid. However, go to the top in a measured way with specifics and then come back if both you and the Minister agree there is an issue. Venting in these blogs (although I can understand your pain and passion) is not the way to go.