Work Permit Policy A “Betrayal Of Bermudians”

March 3, 2015

[Updated] “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,” Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown said.

Multiple Opposition MPs spoke about this in yesterday’s [March 2] sitting of the House of Assembly, with Walter Roban saying: “Why does this government suddenly feel that it’s the right thing to even allow dependents to be issued work permits, when their principle person who came here – because the policies, up until this point, is that if you can bring your family with you, you earn enough money to support them, spouse, partner, and child.

“So the presumption is, if you bring your family here, you’re getting a salary and you’re being given enough benefits by what your presumed employer us is giving you, where that’s not needed.

“So all of a sudden, this government is essentially giving them away like Oleanders on the trees. They’re just giving away permits to whoever wants to come here – dependents, children, everybody.

“Where jobs are limited, in a limited job market, how is this fair or even right for Bermudians,” added Mr. Roban.

Zane Desilva also spoke about it in the House yesterday, saying: “Under the cloak of darkness, the OBA tried to slip this past the people of this country,” adding that “we have 4,000 people out of work in Bermuda.”

Mr Desilva referenced the “OBA’s pre-election promise” of 2,000 jobs, and said, “Maybe these 2,000 jobs are coming – they’re coming for work permit holders, spouses, or significant others, or children. Is that where the 2,000 jobs are going to be given?

“Because the jobless rate in Bermuda has increased under the OBA government – it’s increased. But yet, they find it okay to do this,” added Mr Desilva.

In a statement today, Mr Brown said, “The One Bermuda Alliance’s new work permit policy represents nothing less than a betrayal of Bermudians.

“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.

“Many Bermudians are unable to find full, part-time or summer employment and with the strong anti-Bermudian sentiment among some employers, the OBA’s policy adds yet another stumbling block to fairness and opportunity for all Bermudians.

“Bermuda’s Immigration Policies need comprehensive reform that:

  1. Protects and ensures that Bermudians come first in jobs in Bermuda
  2. Provides severe penalties for those who seek to violate our immigration laws and policies
  3. Provides severe penalties for those who seek to exploit or abuse cheap foreign labour
  4. Provides a streamlined, bureaucratic free atmosphere for employers that legitimately need to bring in foreign expertise

“The PLP is pushing for a Joint Select Committee on Immigration Reform, to allow for the intellect and ability of both parties to be united on getting immigration right for our people,” added Mr. Brown.

“So far the OBA has rejected this proposal. We encourage Bermudians to let their voices be heard and let the One Bermuda Alliance know that this policy is bad for Bermuda and terrible for Bermudians.”

Update 11.06am: Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said, “Last night in the House of Assembly the Shadow Minister of Immigration, Walton Brown, alleged that the new work permit policy is designed to allow dependent children of work permit holders the right to seek employment. This is completely incorrect.

“The Department of Immigration has made this very clear in all the presentations to stakeholders. The policy has been available for public consultation and this point has never been raised. Why? Because all parties know dependent children can’t seek employment.

“It has, prior to the OBA administration, always been the case that spouses of work permit holders could seek employment. It is important to note that such persons will always be subject to the regime put in place by this Government.

“Frankly I expect better from MP Brown. He has had every opportunity to raise concerns. Instead he waits until the policy rolls out. Again for the avoidance of doubt, dependent children of work permit holders are unable to seek employment. ‎

“We are of course happy to add further clarity to the policy if it has confused anyone. I would hope that next time there is doubt, MP Brown reaches out in the spirit of collaboration espoused by the Shadow Minister of Finance rather than use deliberate and inflammatory language that serves to confuse.”

Update 11.56am: The policy document says, “Upon application, 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.”

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It also states that a “sponsored dependant is a partner or child of a work permit holder.”

However, a statement from the Ministry just in 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.”

A 43-page document outlining the Work Permit Policy is below [PDF here]

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Comments (54)

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  1. Joonya says:

    PLP’s tenure was a Betrayal of Bermudians!
    You are an embarassment. Again.. humble yourselves.

    • While we’re on the subject of dishonesty or as the headlines states: “Betrayal of Bermudians” please answer the following.
      What’s your version of “transparency” and close friends and family connections? Following are very relevant point to be explained to the people of Bermuda:
      Bermuda Housing Scandal? B.L.D.C. scandal. Berkeley Institute, Heritage Wharf, Port Royal :-( Transport Control Dept. This too was a signs of financial incompetence.
      Now more, these: Grand Atlantic; the Madame Lois Brown-Evans Court / Police Station Building – The Faith-based Tourism Fiasco also Global Hue and King Edward Memorial Hospitals Chief of Staff scandal…Here’s another “friends and family deal” The Dockyard Cement “issue”. Oh, and let us not forget this one, the Accountant General as well it’s second in command were put on Administrative leave just before last election. Tell us, what’s that all about? We are still waiting for some sort of transparency :-( Now the Spice Hill Orphanage scandal? I believe I could / should stop here because, “my feathers are gettin’ ruffled” :-(

      • Joonya says:

        1. Transparency did not apply to the PLP.
        2. Accountability did not apply to the PLP.
        3. Forget about PLPs performance, stop blaming them (it was soooo long ago..).
        4. Transparency & Accountability must now start with the OBA.
        5. Plagiarism was ok pre 2012 but not now.
        6. Uncontrolled spending was ok pre 2012 but not now.
        7. etc etc

        Thats what I getting out of the Opposition


        • I repeat an earlier today statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration Walton Brown who’d 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.”
          Then Minister M. Fahy 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.”

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          So many focus on the PLP’s past lack of transparency and accountability, so may dismiss it as the past and that 2 wrongs don’t make a right with the OBA… but we seem to miss that the PLP still practice zero transparency and accountability, they still refuse to be clear on what went on, refuse to put forth those responsible for accountability and no matter what Mr. Bean say under the protection of Parliment, the OBA’s record thus far still falls far short of the PLP’s administration as the worst government on record. The OBA has still taken more steps to securing transparency and accountability while in government than the PLP ever achieved and also have managed to mitigate overruns to the budget better than the PLP even tried to. Sir Henry Tucker had 2 predictions correct, the PLP would be government by the year 2000 and the PLP would be a disastrous government for Bermuda.

  2. Mockingjay says:

    Why is everybody acting brand new, this was the UBP’s mandate from day 1.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      And you’re an idiot lol. Nothing new…

    • Dontworryboutathing says:

      Yeah, but the UBP could balance a budget. They left the PLP with clean books.
      And don’t use “the recession caused this problem”, because the UBP also went through recessionary periods and they never put us in this financial mess.

    • jt says:

      Issue is resolved. Nothing to see here…move along. Big stink about nothing…..just the usual gum flapping from the peanut vendor.

  3. CBA says:

    What he going on about? What difference is this from the last policy? This ‘new’ policy doesn’t give anyone a right over Bermudians for jobs. If a partner of a work permit holder wants to apply for a job, they still have to get a permit. This means the job has to be advertised for Bermudians first.

    Am I missing something or is the normal PLP trying to make the OBA look anti-Bermudian because it fits the PLP agenda?

    • hmmm says:

      To achive the PLP agenda they use stirring up of hatred, jealousy. Their policies just don’t stand up on merit without it.

  4. Curious says:

    Can somebody just step up and create two classes of work permits?
    One for International Business and one for all other Bermudian companies?

    That would be the easiest way to recognize the differences in work permit needs that the two groups have, whilst still protecting Bermudian labour and job opportunities.
    In the meantime I think it would help to prevent this sort of ridiculous, political point scoring back and forth about foreigners and work permits and jobs

  5. just wondering says:

    this is so incredible – as an owner of two businesses its a fact I would MUCH rather hire locals and non Bermudians IF I CAN – I don’t want to have to worry about housing them transport – extended trips home cause they are home sick etc etc – the problem is finding Bermudians who are qualified to do the job n the first place!! AND NO I CANT AFFORD TO TRAIN THEN while I pay them at the same time

    • North Rock says:

      This post needs to be required reading for Walton and his mates…of course, they’re perfectly aware, just trying to score political points with more of their inane and simplistic rhetoric

    • Sickofantz says:

      But also Walton seems to have forgotten that the spouse of a work permit holder still wouldn’t be able to be given the job if an equally qualified Bermudian is available!

      And the bit about the children of work permit holders is just laughable. Walton are you really worried that children are going to be taken Bermudian jobs while they are still at school? Honestly GET REAL

    • some1 else's shoes says:

      What type of business do you own because most of the jobs available in Bermuda, there are qualified Bermudians that can do the job required just fine. The problem is Bermudians usually have lives outside of their jobs and can not work the hours that a expat can work and for the most part expats work for less and have no real rights which works against the bermudian and is right up a owner/managers alley. Do not deny this because I have seen it first hand with my own eyes n numerous times with members of my family. The truth is bermudians are being marginalized in their own country because the leadership of the country does not value the so called middle class. I’m a person that does not vote party, but candidate instead but with the way things are going there is no way I can justify in my mind voting Oba in the next election if they keep traveling down the same Rd they seem to be on. And I am not one who is against expat workers. We NEED them but it is irresponable, wrong and atone to genocide on a mental level, because it tells the regular bermudian that they are not wanted in their own country. Pushing the bermudian to the side and stating the reason as to why it is done is because of a lack of qualified bermudians for the most part that is a cop out and a lie.

  6. Onion says:

    Brown must be reading a different policy from the one posted above because nowhere does it say anything like what he’s claiming.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      He is apparently reading from the PLP’s secret strategy document titled ‘We had to deceive you’, calling for it’s leadership to deliberately confuse issues with misinformation and misrepresentation for the benefit of the party first, leadership second, membership third and then maybe the country.

      • Onion says:

        Seriously.

        The policy even goes so far as to unequivocally state that the normal work permit policy applies to sponsored dependants. So they can stay here but only work if they go through the same process as anyone else.

    • Concerned says:

      Brown received the wrong script

  7. Art ful dodger says:

    The PLP allowed 12,000 work permits, mainly in the blue collar field. Now there is no work in industries that employ blue collar workers.
    To summarize, the PLP are the ones who put Bermudians in the blue collar related industries, out of work!

  8. Tucker says:

    Just standard PLP tactics. Make enough noise and people will believe it’s true. It doesn’t matter how often it’s been proven to be a lie, they’ll keep pushing it as fact. Very embarrassing tactics which all Bermudians should be bright enough to see through.

  9. bluebird says:

    Where are the 11,300 Bermudians to fill these workpermit holders???
    This is one third of the workforce and without them we would not have an ecconomy.
    And Goverment would not be able to spend 1150 Million dollars per year on a huge Goverment
    That produces nothing,nothing,nothing just wastes Tax Payer money

  10. Attention of the Shadow Minister of Immigration Walton Brown.
    Mr. Walton Brown you are too much bie’ Are you insinuating that them of us that have a spouse, (people from other countries)aren’t entitled and are less eligible to them born here of being employed? If so, you Mr. Walton Brown are waaaaaay off of course :-( Shame on you and anyone that supports you views!

  11. Typo; supports your views!

  12. Thelma Foster says:

    when are we as BERMUDIANS I donot care what colour your skin GREEN PINK WHITE BLACK RED allow a person that is not A BORN BERMUDIAN doing what ever he want to do

    • Sickofantz says:

      Eh?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I welcome competition, it is what makes me ensure I am competitive, that I prove myself through my work rather than through my birth. Competition is the means by which we drive to improve upon ourselves, an environment devoid of competition is an atmosphere devoid of motivation from which stagnation rises.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      Your post doesn’t make sense.

    • JCS says:

      You’ve got to watch out for those people!

  13. jt says:

    True to form. On to the next tempest in a teapot.

  14. Vote for Me says:

    All posters.

    Apprarently MP Brown was correct since the Ministry issued a clarifying statement that children of non Bermudians will not be allowed to work.

    The problem is whether or not the statement will be challenged and overturned in Court!!

    • Sickofantz says:

      You are talking about people aged up to the age of 18? Or over that age but only if they are at university? How are they going to be AT university (overseas) and taking Bermudian jobs?????

      Honestly the PLP will do anything to stir up any old rubbish.

    • Onion says:

      The clarification didn’t change anything. It just made it harder to deliberately misrepresent.

  15. Creamy says:

    So Walton Brown and Zaney go off half-cocked and mislead the public as to government policy.
    Nothin new there.
    Do they do it because they are incompetent buffoons, or because they deliberately want to spread lies? It has to be one or the other of those.

  16. Terry says:

    Haven’t read so much crap for a long time.

    Nothing more than trying to bring the country to it’s knees via propaganda and lies.

    Remind yourselves of my comments in the future.

    Maybe propaganda man Thomas can do a piece on Bermuda

  17. Unbelievable says:

    I am so disappointed in the PLP. I just can’t even fathom that they stand there and distort the facts day in and day out like this. And time and time again, the OBA have to respond and correct them.

    The PLP really have lost their way.

  18. Just a matter of time says:

    Nice try to all those trying to pull down MP Brown but Section 5.2 printed above CLEARLY says that sponsored dependents can ‘….SEEK EMPLOYMENT..’ provided that the sponsor can back them financially.i.e. providing ‘proof of financial support’. How many ways can this be twisted away from the truth that so many of you here are avoiding? THAT’S why the Ministry is issuing this clarification clause AFTER THE FACT because it was flawed from the beginning!! Seriously folks? Do you consider this your country or what? Had MP Brown and the Opposition not said anything, this one would have slipped through as do many other things under this OBA Govt and sponsored dependents could have worked here perfectly legally under our noses. Unbelievable! smh.

  19. Just a matter of time says:

    Further…sponsors (permit holders) could not come here without showing proof they could sponsor their dependants anyway so that clause of ‘providing proof’ to sponsor a dependent in this so-called ‘new’ work permit policy is a redundant one but made to look like some t’s were being crosses and i’s were dotted when that was clearly not the case. This Govt is hell bent on giving this island away one piece at a time to the highest bidder! smh!

  20. mixitup says:

    MP Brown is correct in this.. Which is why Minister Faheee today, said he will make an ammendment to the policy….. already. Thank GOD for an opposition who is paying attention.

    • aceboy says:

      No he isn’t. You are simply lapping up propaganda like a good doggie.

    • JCS says:

      It’s pronounced Fay, and there’s only one ‘m’ in amendment.

      • RCF says:

        If we are to discuss typos, then discuss all typos, especially the typo of gargantuan stature, “dependents”. Please be sure to mention to Mr. Fahy and the government that the correct British spelling in this context is “dependants” not dependents. If Mr. Fahy were unsure, he could have checked the same law he was so quick to amend. To echo my fellow reader’s sentiment, haste INDEED makes waste. It takes a little more than a simple reliance on one’s u.s.-based spellchecker to write well.

    • Creamy says:

      No. Brown and Zane have it *** about face. They’re liars.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      No, he wasn’t, there was no change to the policy in that spouses can still apply for a job, but still require a work permit to work. In the event of dependant children, even if they applied for a job, they would have to have still gone through the work permit application process, and the current policy doesn’t allow for dependant children to work so they would not have been given a work permit. The only thing Fahy did was have a sentence put in on the front end to make it clear about a policy that was already in place in the back end. Everything Mr. Brown said in his release was a misrepresentation, due to either not actually not understanding the policy and current policies, or deliberate action to mislead the public for political posturing.

  21. Just a matter of time says:

    sorry for the typos. Haste makes waste as they say..

  22. Coffee says:

    Friends and family legislation in full effect .. Shame on you OBA/UBP .. Oh my bad there is no shame in your name game ! Bermuda is now wide open for the folks ‘back home ‘ . This applies to all paper Bermudians who reside here !

  23. Ringmaster says:

    Walton Brown is so intent with causing mischief he makes no sense, not for the first time. Assuming he is correct that a dependent of a work permit holder can apply for a job, why is this any different to a person living in another country applying? If there are jobs that no Bermudian wants, and there seem to be a lot around, then why shouldn’t a dependent apply? His attack shows he is just looking to stir up emotions for petty electioneering purposes.

  24. Everybody has problems. My trouble is that the anniversary of our marriage is coming up at the end of the month, and I cant remember how many years it has been. My wife’s trouble is that she can remember. But we still love each other, anyway.

  25. shirley Richardson says:

    Thanks, MP Brown for being spot on and diligent in your position as shadow minister of immigration. It’s quite obvious that minister Fahy had every intension to sneak his policy through.

    Once caught, he had to amend the part that says work permit holders, dependents will have the right to work in Bermuda. He probably hoped that part of the policy would be overlooked.

    Why would any right thinking person, believe anything this man says, he has been exposed more than once for his un-truthfulness . as far as the premier is concerned, all you hear from him on this issue is SILENT NIGHT.

    • Creamy says:

      So Shirley, presumably you of all people have no problem with people coming here, working, and earning status?

      • shirley Richardson says:

        I have no problem with anyone coming here and, and earning status, honestly . So creamy if you of all people don’t believe that I should have status, Why don’t you stand on principle and use your real name. and then maybe we can have an honest discussion.

  26. 1st. Corinthians 6 – 9: Be not deceived…