Immigration Matters: $30,000 In Penalties Issued

July 15, 2015

michael-fahy-bermuda-obaMinister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said that the Chief Immigration Officer has issued four civil penalties: $5,000 to Chopsticks as an employer, $5000 to Chopsticks’ employee Imelda Mon, $15,000 for two violations by Pedro Arruda a former employee of Hasco Construction, and $5,000 to David King Sr., an independent contractor at Manor House.

Speaking today [July 15] in the Senate, Minister Fahy said: “On May 20, 2015, I took the time to remind all employers, work permit holders and Bermuda at large, that civil penalties are in effect.

“Today, I wish to provide a report on the number of civil penalties levied and the stage at which investigations for civil penalties are at.

“Also recall that civil penalties have been in effect since April 1, 2014 and pursuant to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment [No. 2] Act 2013, civil penalties are levied by the Chief Immigration Officer.

“To date, the Chief Immigration Officer has issued four civil penalties to:

  • Chopsticks – employer [$5,000]
  • Imelda Mon – Chopsticks’ employee [$5,000]
  • Pedro Arruda – former employee of Hasco Construction [2 violations of a combined sum of $15,000 – first violation $5,000 and 2nd violation $10,000]
  • David King, Sr. – independent contractor at Manor House [$5,000]

“The total sum for all penalties issued to date, is $30,000,” said Minister Fahy. “The Amendment Act gives offending parties the right to appeal to the Supreme Court within 21 days of the date of issuance of a civil penalty.

“Offending parties can also formally request a payment plan for civil penalties, which includes the requirement for an immediate and upfront payment off of the total amount owed. At this point, no one against whom a civil penalty has been levied has appealed to the Supreme Court. ”

Minister Fahy continued, “The Compliance Section is currently processing 41 cases for civil penalties. This number in fact doubles to comprise 82 individuals, when one considers that each case is representative of an employer and at least one employee [there are some cases which involve more than one employee].”

“Of the 41 cases listed above, disclosure of the employers and employees is not permitted until after the Chief Immigration Officer issues a civil penalty.

“However, what I can disclose at this point is that the job categories for the abovementioned cases include positions for: chef, construction worker, mason, fitness instructor, automotive mechanic, panel beater, manager, administrator, refrigeration technician, domestic worker, waiter/waitress, hairstylist, landscaper, health & safety coordinator, accountant, boat maintenance, 4 cleaner, butcher, architect, nanny, financial controller, and landlord/tenancy.

“I have reported on 46 cases today, and the number is climbing as I speak. Therefore, I wish to again remind the listening audience that the following violations against the Amendment Act will, without question, result in an investigation for civil penalties:

  • Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation without a work permit;
  • Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation outside the scope of that person’s work permit;
  • Engaging in gainful occupation without a work permit;
  • Engaging in gainful occupation outside the scope of the work permit

Minister Fahy added, “I am imploring employers and work permit holders to play by the rules; to follow the Work Permit Policies so that they do not fall foul to an investigation for civil penalties.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Madam President, you will recall that on May 20, 2015, I took the time to remind all employers, work permit holders and Bermuda at large, that civil penalties are in effect. Today, I wish to provide a report on the number of civil penalties levied and the stage at which investigations for civil penalties are at.

Madam President, also recall that civil penalties have been in effect since April 1, 2014 and pursuant to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment [No. 2] Act 2013, civil penalties are levied by the Chief Immigration Officer.

Madam President, the Chief Immigration Officer is responsible for determining whether a work permit violation has occurred or not. There is a clear process for all decisions to impose civil penalties; including a full investigation by the Compliance Section of the Department of Immigration [which must be formally presented to the Chief Immigration Officer] and written communication by the Chief Immigration Officer to the offending parties, comprising a Notice, a 2 Warning Notice, and a Decision Notice [each are issued at staggered intervals in the process].

Madam President, to date, the Chief Immigration Officer has issued four [4] civil penalties to:

  • Chopsticks – employer [$5,000]
  • Imelda Mon – Chopsticks’ employee [$5,000]
  • Pedro Arruda – former employee of Hasco Construction [2 violations of a combined sum of $15,000 – first violation $5,000 and 2nd violation $10,000]
  • David King, Sr. – independent contractor at Manor House [$5,000]

Madam President, the total sum for all penalties issued to date, is $30,000. The Amendment Act gives offending parties the right to appeal to the Supreme Court within 21 days of the date of issuance of a civil penalty. Offending parties can also formally request a payment plan for civil penalties, which includes the requirement for an immediate and upfront payment off of the total amount owed. At this point, no one against whom a civil penalty has been levied has appealed to the Supreme Court. In addition to this, payment plans have been arranged for all but one of the persons listed above. The payment plans currently in place have necessitated an upfront payment of no less than 40% of the total civil penalty levied and the remaining balances are payable monthly with the monthly amount being no less than $1,000.

Madam President, there was also one [1] investigation for civil penalties which resulted in no case to answer; no civil penalty was issued.

Madam President, the Compliance Section is currently processing forty-one [41] cases for civil penalties. This number in fact doubles to comprise 82 individuals, when one considers that each case is representative of an employer and at least one employee [there are some cases which involve more than one employee]. The following list provides a breakdown of the stage at which the cases are at.

Status of Cases Totals Notices Issued by the Chief Immigration Officer 6 Managerial Review 13 Under Investigation 17 To be Assigned 5 Total 41

For further clarity, the notices issued by the Chief Immigration Officer provide formal notification to all offending parties that they are under investigation for civil penalties. The managerial review relates to vetting of each case for completeness by the Compliance Manager before submission to the Chief Immigration Officer. Cases that are under investigation are reflective of the work performed by the Senior Immigration Inspectors; i.e. conducting interviews and taking caution statements. And finally, to be assigned means that cases have been created in the system and need to be routed to a Senior Immigration Inspector so that the investigation can begin.

Madam President, of the 41 cases listed above, disclosure of the employers and employees is not permitted until after the Chief Immigration Officer issues a civil penalty. However, what I can disclose at this point is that the job categories for the abovementioned cases include positions for: chef, construction worker, mason, fitness instructor, automotive mechanic, panel beater, manager, administrator, refrigeration technician, domestic worker, waiter/waitress, hairstylist, landscaper, health & safety coordinator, accountant, boat maintenance, 4 cleaner, butcher, architect, nanny, financial controller, and landlord/tenancy.

Madam President, I have reported on 46 cases today, and the number is climbing as I speak. Therefore, I wish to again remind the listening audience that the following violations against the Amendment Act will, without question, result in an investigation for civil penalties:

  • Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation without a work permit;
  • Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation outside the scope of that person’s work permit;
  • Engaging in gainful occupation without a work permit;
  • Engaging in gainful occupation outside the scope of the work permit

As was communicated on May 20, 2015, I am imploring employers and work permit holders to play by the rules; to follow the Work Permit Policies so that they do not fall foul to an investigation for civil penalties.

Thank you Madam President.

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Comments (42)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Ha! Now try getting that $ out of those people especially if they have nothing or are gone.

    • Ridiculous says:

      My business is one that’s facing penalties. Under the old rules things were different. I called immigration and told them that my work permit renewals were late by a few days. Under the old government a business could pay the work permit fee and a late fee. When I spoke to the agent at immigration she told me the oba removed all the late fees and a civil penalty would apply to all my late work permit renewals. So I’m looking at paying $5000 for each one well over $15000. Nice going OBA. If the banks work permits all came in late would you charge them? Someone needs to perform a judicial review on this. I can understand if my workers had been illegal, but charging me all that money when the work permits were late by a few days.

      • what... says:

        Truthfully, you should have the renewals in on time… it’s no-ones fault but your own!!

        • Now you can hire Bermudians.

        • question says:

          How many are actually late renewals and how many are people working illegally? Someone in the PlP needs to ask the question in the house. Fahy trying make himself look good again.

          • what... says:

            Question…. there is no difference..If the renewal is late, they are working illegally…

            • hey says:

              I have suggestion refuse to pay the penalties. The oba can’t lock you up. Send your workers home and the apartments they rent from locals will become vacant. This will cause a double whammy effect. The oba will not be able to grow Bermuda now hire Bermudians. If enough business do this we’ll see how fast they change the $5000 fine for every late permit.

        • Sally jones says:

          Exactly!

      • Cow Polly says:

        Unfortunately you are being punished for employers who wait until their employees contracts are up for renewal which doesn’t necessarily correspond to when their work permits expire – usually the work permit is obtained and then the contract is signed so there’s a couple of weeks extra on the contract, hence the delay.
        However, have to agree with @what…. you are going to have to change your practices and get the work permits in early instead of leaving it to the last minute.

      • PLP says:

        Why were your renewals late?

      • Sick & Tired says:

        If you are late they are illegal. Yu should hire Bermudians then you won’t have to worry about late fees or fees period!!!

        • Awake says:

          Please enlighten me…what’s the name of your company?

      • Furriner says:

        As one of those evil job-stealing foreign workers, I got my employer to start the process 6 months early with placing the ad, doing the interviews, etc. Standard processing time is something like 10 weeks, so it came with plenty of time. Just takes some pre-planning. Employees are wise to know the rules too.

    • That why you deport their @$$e$ and BURN the employers.

      • PLP says:

        You sound like Donald Trump except not as rich

    • rhonda says:

      If you don’t recognize the game, we fine instead of revoking the work permit and issuing deportation orders.
      So I ask, have we made progress or have we gone backwards.

  2. Immigration Matters: “I have reported on 46 cases today, and the number is climbing as I speak. Therefore, I wish to again remind the listening audience that the following violations against the Amendment Act will, without question, result in an investigation for civil penalties:
    Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation without a work permit;
    Employing a person to engage in gainful occupation outside the scope of that person’s work permit;
    Engaging in gainful occupation without a work permit;
    Engaging in gainful occupation outside the scope of the work permit
    Minister Fahy added, “I am imploring employers and work permit holders to play by the rules; to follow the Work Permit Policies so that they do not fall foul to an investigation for civil penalties.”
    Good work! Keep it up so that we can see more Bermudians doing the said jobs taken by them that have/are violating the Laws…

    • watchmen says:

      The recent case concerning the ombudsmen complaint should be also then considered for investigation Raymond? They were less than above board in that recruitment process no?

    • Can you make up your mind, and on the other hand you cry down Bermudians about being lazy and don’t want to work, Dreamer.

      • smh says:

        The article is supporting OBA in this case so he is showing his standard blind follower support.

  3. "concerned" says:

    Its too bad that places like one company are able to get people on the island, then wrongfully dismiss them (workpermit holders)…then leave them on island with no way getting home. No termination papers, no warnings, no reason for termination. AND this company did NOT hand in the documents to immigration that they were fired. I personally know 6 people that had this happen to them by this company. These employees made MANY complaints to workforce & development about one particular person.. and went to immigration. But be that as these staff members that were treated so horribly wrong, because they werent Bermudian… NO ONE DID ANYTHING. I am disgusted at the lack of integrity and compassion that this country has for the people who actually want to WORK here!!!

  4. Rick Olson says:

    It is nice to see the Ministers tough talk is being backed up with action and results . I believe a good mix is needed of both locals and expats are needed in the restaurant industry and ask all employers to give Bermudians a fair chance.

    • frank says:

      rick Bermudians need jobs so why do you have people from half way around doing simple jobs

      • Whistling Frog says:

        @frank: Tomorrow is my birthday so I won’t be in. I haven’t told my boss yet, I’ll wait till di morning to let him know. I won’t be in the day after either, cause I’d be still too hungover from my birthday. Shoot! Weeks done I might as well go in first thing Monday,,,

        p.s. I don’t care if I get fired, I can always get another job…

        signed

        F it

  5. PLP says:

    As a PLP supporter I must say that the OBA is doing a fantastic job here! Congrats Mr. Fahy, we support you! Lets give Bermudians their jobs back!

    • You are a JOKE.
      It’s supporters like you is why they lost, these fines are ridiculous and a drop in the bucket for some company’s, if you really want to make a statement on this issue ,fine them till it hurts and you are congratulating a man that should be looked at for Water Front allegations, CoH matters, and seeming to endorse policies that are not in the best interest of Bermudians.
      You are a total @$$

      • Anbu says:

        How that haterade taste mate?! Lmfao “supporters like u are why they lost” lmao they voted for them dummy! Plp lost of their own accord or did u even vote at all?!

      • PLP says:

        First off I agree, these fines are a bit weak. Secondly, I am PLP, I can turn a blind eye to whatever I want (Water Front, CoH, TCD, Berkley, whatever). Can you stop hating now?

    • flikel says:

      I doubt you are a PLP supporter.

      But nonetheless, how can one person be fined for multiple immigration violations? After the first violation, shouldn’t their work permit be revoked (if they have one) and they be deported? How is a person allowed to remain in Bermuda and incur a second violation….after the first one, they should have been sent home.

      • Cow Polly says:

        May be they didn’t know? They trust that their employer will submit the necessary paperwork on time to renew the permit and aren’t aware that it has been submitted late unless they are trying to get back into the country.

      • Second says:

        ….and the employer dealt with severely. There are some out there who think all Bermudians are stupid and they can do whatever they want regardless of the laws. Very disrespectful.

    • OBA says:

      Yes let’s kick all the work permits out of Bermuda. Who’s going to pay your $6000 morgage/rental a$$.

  6. watchmen says:

    We should have started with Fahy competing for his job like everyone else has to i.e. elections!! – rather than an appointment by his pals…

    As well this is a drop in the bucket. If you know of some improprieties Bermuda speak and speak to the proper sources swiftly.

    We are draining too much money overseas in the form of remittances by ex-patriots of all hues – never to return to our shores. Surely the government must recognize this – as concerned as they claim to be about the economy and such…

    • One question. How about, “The Col.?”
      @ watchman: They were above board. That individual had applied for that position for over a decade but failed the “test/s” qualifying them…(Do some research :-( )
      @Onion: I call it as I see it. Now you go and pick the bones out of that.

    • Not exactly says:

      The Bermuda Constitution 1968 says that one Senator must be in Cabinet and no more than 2 Senators may be in Cabinet. All Senators (Government, Opposition and Independents) are appointed. Is your concern with the how the Constitution is formulated? Have you always had these concerns or are you simply whinging because you don’t like Minister Fahy’s effectiveness?

  7. Terry says:

    “As a PLP supporter”.

    Bawahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Come on.
    Michael Fahy.
    I got your ISP #.
    Shalom.

    • Damn says:

      just out of curiosity… how do you get someone’s isp # from an anonymous posting on a website that you do not own?

  8. Oh,I see now says:

    Can’t wait to see you on the other side of the gavel Fahy……..and I’m ah waiting.

    • In ref. to the remark made by, “Oh, I se now”. That can / and should be taken as a direct threat! It needs to be investigated. We, the general public can’t take certain remarks / comments “with a grain of salt”!
      Find out who it is making such remark a.s.a.p!

  9. swing voter says:

    @ damn that bie Terry jus acts stupid but is far from it ;-)

  10. more than enough says:

    why would the penalty be the same for the employee, as it is for the employer?that makes absolutely no sense to me…

  11. Oh,I see now says:

    Hey Mr Ray,put aside your conspiricy theories/cloak and dagger imagination hat.Next thing I know there will be a movie based on my comment heh heh.Concerning Mr Fahy anytime the Premier is doing damage control Fahys name always pops up.I guess touché is in order to you my good man as I stand accused of doing to Fahy as I you accuse of me.