“We Must Move Forward & Do What Is Right”

February 8, 2016

“It beggars belief that anyone would have a problem with giving rights to people who have spent 20 years in a country” and “we must move forward and do what is right,” said Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy.

Michael Fahy 160208

Background

On Friday, the Minister announced they plan to amend the law, with changes to include any person who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 15 years becoming eligible to apply for permanent residency, and any permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in Bermuda for 20 years becoming eligible to apply for Bermudian status.

The announcement drew criticism from the Opposition, with MP Walton Brown saying, “The OBA Government has completely lost its mind” as they have “taken unilateral steps with contempt for Bermudians reminiscent of the racist policies of the 1960s.” “There is no longer space to discuss and negotiate,” added Mr Brown. “This is the time for direct action. Civil disobedience.”

In addition, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban said, “In typical OBA fashion, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy announced revised Immigration Policy that would award status to residents who have been in Bermuda over 20 years, and award PRC’s to those that have resided in Bermuda for 15 years.

“This knee jerk reaction, likely in response to the defeat at the polls, and in contravention of their pre-election promises, shows that the OBA is not a party that learns from their mistakes, but rather one that seems intent on repeating their mistakes with the goal of securing long term power.

“The Progressive Labour Party continues to call for joint comprehensive immigration reform rather than this piece meal approach being employed by the OBA government.”

Minister Fahy’s Comments

Minister Fahy said, “The responses from Mr Roban and Mr Brown are not at all surprising and are absolutely typical of what the public have come to expect from the Opposition when it comes to immigration. In true fashion their rhetoric and misleading statements are what they lead with.

“It is absolutely laughable to say these changes are a knee jerk reaction to anything, which makes it clear that Mr Roban did not read our comprehensive statement from Friday. Rather than using stock phrases like “comprehensive immigration reform”, which after all this is, Mr Roban might share his party’s vision.

“It is my view that the further outlandish remarks he and Mr Brown make, which certainly demonstrate their contempt for the right thing to do and their dismissal of human rights and those who are likely friends and neighbors, the more they show they are the ones out of touch with what Bermuda needs to be sustainable.

“Love they Neighbour. Embrace and show love and respect, rather than division do not seem to be words they are capable of using, all the more surprising from a Labour Party which professes to be progressive.

“I reiterate my desire to see sensible debate. After all, everyone in Bermuda came from somewhere. Calling for civil disobedience or similar cries do nothing more than show the world we are not welcoming.

“It beggars belief that anyone would have a problem with giving rights to people who have spent 20 years in a country. That is in fact a lifetime.

“Perhaps Mr Roban should look around and think about just how recently some of his colleagues came to Bermuda or where they were born before he casts stones at glass houses.

“We must move forward and do what is right,” added Minister Fahy.

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Comments (59)

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  1. Average Bermudian says:

    FAHy – in your previous announcements – you said only after 25 years

    Flip and Flop -

    • The Maple Leaf connection.

    • LT says:

      I’m 25 years old,my bro and I were born and raised in Bermuda. My parents have been here for 28 years. Non of us currently have status, PRCs but no status.

      Bermuda is all I know, mind you it hasn’t affected me I do what I want, but I’d like to own my corner one day. My parents are getting old, they never bought a house where they’re from, they don’t own a house here. Work and paying bills and rent is all they know.

      Life aint easy

  2. Rhonda says:

    Like most issues with the Oba , the point isn’t about the aactual people but the process, and when process is correct ALL the people benefit. As well educatingand assuring the public that all due diligence was done. And this isn’t just for political expedient, as even the oba admits the ubp did.

  3. The Truth says:

    I have a question – - can I leave Bermuda and reside in the US and after 20 years receive status? If the answer is yes, I have no issue with the change in legislation. If the answer is no, there is no need to change anything. The OBA is not looking at the long term effects of this legislative change – this has the potential to change the landscape of Bermuda and its community for years to come.

    • watching says:

      that’s exactly what they want.

    • smh says:

      What do you propose government do to stave off the declining res pop and payoff the $2 Billion in debt and support the large civil service? Grow Bermudians on trees?

      • Portia says:

        Well, for one, if the individuals he wants to grant rights to have been here for 20 years or more, then how is this increasing the population? Many long-term residents claim they don’t really have any strong ties to their country of origin anymore, so why is the Government suddenly afraid of losing them?

        Secondly, if the declining population is a real concern, why isn’t the Government reaching out to the scores of Bermudians who have moved abroad to the UK, US and Canada? Why aren’t they arranging forums to convince them why they should come back?

        • Justin says:

          To answer the first bit of your post please Google “Comeau: why i’m leaving Bermuda”. Have a good read and then get back to us…

        • Say Whaat? says:

          Portia, I wish I could like this 100 times!!!!!

    • Iggrunce says:

      Yes, yes you can. Just fill in the necessary paperwork (and it’s 5 years residency)

    • Toleratate says:

      This is by no means an agreement or disagreement with your statement, as I don’t have an answer to your question; but in curiosity are you referring to receiving status in US? If so why are you basing your view on America?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Residency is actually a requirement for any of the applications. If you haven’t been a resident here and aren’t one at the time of application, then you won’t get PRC or status. Our community landscape has already been changed, giving people who have been a part and continue to be a part of that landscape the rights to be more involved in our community is only justice, and not just-us.

    • Ya ya, Ya ya says:

      You only have to live in the US for 5 years before you can become a citizen. Here’s how long it takes in other countries throughout the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalization#Other_countries

      Bermuda is almost alone in the world in offering no path to a resident getting status or even the right to reside absent marrying a citizen.

      • clearasmud says:

        This statement that ” You only have to live in the US for 5 years before you can become a citizen” is false please check with the US consulate for the actual requirements.

        • Ya ya, Ya ya says:

          In order to apply for naturalization you must:

          1. Be 18 or older at the time of filing;

          2. Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization;

          3. Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application

          4. Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application;

          5. Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application;

          6. Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization;

          7. Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

          8. Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.

          https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization/path-us-citizenship

          The residency requirement is 5 years. In Bermuda the residency requirement is currently infinity years.

          • clearasmud says:

            @ ya ya – Yes and how long did it take to get the green card? It varies greatly so to suggest that ” You only have to live in the US for 5 years before you can become a citizen” is not quite correct! Been there done that so I know!

            • Jus' Wonderin' says:

              Actually only took a couple months for a family member of mine, quite easy actually, MUCH easier than here. Nice try…it actually is quite correct.

    • lucky 7 says:

      Irrelavent. We’re not American.

    • In America says:

      I had the privilege to work in Bermuda on a work permit which was renewed every year. I then came to the states on a work visa. H1b visa. then after 1 year I could apply for a change of status and after 2 years I was give a work Authorization permit. After that I could then apply for a green Card. that took 2 more years. After I got my green card I had to wait 5 years then I could apply for citizenship. So I took 10 years from work Visa to Citizenship. So the Answer is yes in 10 Years.

    • DTG says:

      You can apply for Permanent Residence in Canada and once you are a permanent reisdence you can apply for Canadian citizen ship

      Stay put for 1,095 days. Once you’re a permanent resident, you need to be able to prove that you’ve been in Canada for 1,095 days out of the past 4 years (there’s 1460 days in 4 years, so that’s 3 years). It does not have to be 1,095 consecutive days. So long as you’re there for 3 out of the past 4 years, you’re good to go. And yes, they will look at your passport, deciphering it until the moose come home.
      As stated previously, you’ll receive 1/2 a day’s credit for every day spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident. All the more reason to get on establishing your residency!
      This 3 year rule does not apply to those under the age of 18.[2]

    • Derek A. G. Jones says:

      You can reside in the USA and get citizenship in seven years.

    • Pete says:

      To Answer your question The Truth is YES! to educate you, that applies in many, many countries of the World.

  4. jrsmith says:

    giving rights to the LGBT community is the right thing to do. So why aren’t we doing that? Locking people up for smoking cannabis isn’t the right thing to do? Financial manipulation & deceit isn’t the right thing to do but we allow it here. Bermuda is full of hypocrisy….

  5. watching says:

    This government has eroded the trust with the people. Between the Premier, Minister Fahy, and former Premier Cannonier, people have seen the truth for themselves. Minister Fahy says that this is the right thing to do. Then why was it not in their election platform that they would do this? Why was it not mentioned prior to 2012? Why wasn’t it mentioned in the throne speech? Why was it just sprung forth on Friday? Where is the transparency and openness?
    People are watching. There will be a day of reckoning.

    • smh says:

      We’re all still trying to dig out of the PLP’s “Days of reckoning”….how do you think having $2B in debt and no choices is going to play out. Foreign lenders are going to demand repayment so either we sell of assets or increase the amount of people that can help us pay it all off. The PLP sowed it and now we’re ALL reaping it every single darn day

      • Let's not forget the.....wait for it.... says:

        Platinum period of Tourism.

        Come on folks–this is 2016–

        This is a Human Rights issue, its fair and the right thing to do.

        There is nothng dshonest as the PLP will have you believe and its not a new situation.

        The PLP are so on the wrong side of this issue—It is very sad for them and those that believe the spin.

        Where is your compassion for your fellow Bermudians–tsk tsk..

    • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

      We all know what the PLP did.
      You’re saying the OBA is no better.

      Okay, so what’s our other options?

    • Good point, WATCHING.
      What people who have come into BERMUDA unannounced are thinking:” I want in… kick BERMUDIANS OUT!!!”
      Look at them on a daily basis. That is their subtle behaviour.
      They have come to the DEVILS’ Isles under the hood of secrecy.Do you ever wonder HOW DID THESE PEOPLE get here?? Do find out. That oba/ubp and its group spent MILLIONS of quiet dollars.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        Probably because you treat them badly is why they look like that to you lmfao…and no there weren’t millions of dollars spetn by the OBA….QUITE THE CONTRARY ask Dr. Brown about the Uighur costs….you don’t want to see those ;)

    • clearasmud says:

      @ watching I agree, also why did they blame the “loophole” by the PLP for why they were forced to grant PRC status to people if it was simply the right thing to do? This minister is full of contradictions!

    • protest says:

      Our Bermudian people are being made second class citizens in their own country. Scary…

  6. Cow Polly says:

    Racist policies of the 1960s?????? There was nothing in Fahy’s speech that said only white people who have spent 20 years in this country will be granted status. It is just an assumption that those who have stayed here are white.
    Congratulations Mr Fahy for ridding us of the discriminatory policies of the past. The World is fast becoming more open and more diverse. If we do not change our ways, we will become one of those Sixty Minutes episodes showing an island which once had one of the largest GDPs destroying itself by becoming the most un-friendliest island on the planet.

    • The Truth says:

      How is the world “fast becoming more open and more diverse?” Every country is strengthening their borders against outsiders – - look at the US and Donald Trump as an example. OR BETTER YET – what did Canada do just last week? EVERY BERMUDIAN TRAVELING TO CANADA NOW REQUIRES An ETA!! Get a grip and understand that this is about losing our country to foreign interest.

      • Rich says:

        eTA is just about keeping track of who comes into the country. It has nothing to do with closing borders. Bermudians continue to be a visa-free group for travel into Canada.

      • Cow Polly says:

        If you believe Donald Trump is a serious contender for the Presidency of the United States, I suggest you need to get a grip.

        We have two choices, we either accept that if we want to keep or increase our standard of living we have to encourage foreigners to invest in our island or we accept that we are going to lose our standard of living and return to being fisherman and onion growers with a bit of tourism on the side. That is THE TRUTH!

      • Hahaha says:

        Don’t make me laugh.
        The PLP borrowed and now we owe those foreign interests you fear so much.
        Your credibility is so small we need a large hadron collider to test and know that it exists.

  7. Midge says:

    All well and good.but there are only two people at Immigration to do the paperwork,so it will take ages to get your paperwork completed.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Just heard on the radio they will be hiring more staff to deal with the work load.

      • watching says:

        Of course! they need to get everything rubber stamped prior to election day!

        • aceboy says:

          The PLP oppose this primarily on the basis that anyone staying will not vote for them. All those people are racists I guess. Nothing to do with the terrible job the PLP did.

    • hmmmm says:

      Actually it’s only one person. The last person quite the job. The job doesn’t pay well for the headaches that go with the salary.

  8. flikel says:

    We all know that voting is clearly divided by race….there is no disputing this fact. Poll after poll still shows a string racial divide when voting.

    A simple check of their immigration file reveals the origin and ‘look’ of these new Bermudians. Also as work permit and PRC applications require a picture, we all know the race of these new Bermudians.

    I wonder if the OBA would still ‘do what’s right’ if the vast majority of these new Bermudians were not white….but were black, i.e they fit the PLP voting demographic.

    Would they still push to grant these likely new PLP voters status?

    • Anbu says:

      Now flip your statement around and put plp where oba was and vise versa. Theyd donthe exact same thing. If u say they wouldnt then u r a liar

      • flikel says:

        I agree…PLP would be wary of doing this if the script was reversed. You are also proving my point…this is nothing about ‘doing the right thing’, it’s a politically strategic move to increase their voter base.

  9. San George says:

    Reduce it to three years – love thy neighbor Fayh. It assumes someone is going to want to live here – buyers remorse. Just like all these vacant houses and condos.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

  10. 235 says:

    A general election can’t come soon enough

  11. Good says:

    I believe that this is a good move. I was born in Bermuda but found out that I still had to get Bermudian status due to certain circumstances. It was also a good thing that I was born when I was because if not, I would have had a harder time applying. With this new pathway at least other people are given some ease with this process as I feel it is necessary. My sister was born in the USA and automatically had dual citizenship. This is good for Bermuda and well overdue. It is true that this new law once amended would reach all classes, race, and social economic status. Many people will benefit from this, not just one particular group of people. I know this from experience.

  12. clearasmud says:

    I really don’t have any problem with the intent of these measures but it is the timing of these proposals and the fact that there are trust issues that the government chooses to ignore. For instance what did the former Premier do that was so wrong that he need to be removed? and what has he done since to warrant being put back into Cabinet? If he did nothing wrong and was vindicated why hasn’t anyone said so? The continued silence is deafening! Also this Minister was on record as saying he was satisfied that the appropriate safety measures were in place so that the city hall parking lot was not at risk but that did not prove to be true so why should I believe anything he says?

  13. Jojo says:

    Is everyone aware it cost $25,000 the fee for a PRC cert ??? Not to many gonna spent that cash

    • shafted says:

      Actually I think many would spend $25k to get PRC to live in paradise. Get rid of PRC. Marriage to a Bermudian should be the only way to get status. Bermudians should not have to feel threatened by those who have overstayed their welcome.

    • Eh? says:

      Hi, I think you’ll find that the $25K was the cost of the 10 year work permit to which a PRC could be attached. That was the job makers act. It used to be over 100k but the oba relaxed some of the requirements and dropped the price. The PRC application fee i think is a couple hundred. Happy to be corrected.

  14. sayso says:

    Bermuda has a high senior population and a low birth rate. The base of the triangle is upside down. The reality of it is that this is not sustainable for any country no matter how big or small. Canada and Australia used to be one of the most difficult countries to seek permanent residency but because the majority of their senior population were baby boomers offering permanent residency was a wise thing to do to sustain their economies. Bermuda there are added advantages you don`t see. I hope you can embrace other nations as other Bermudians overseas have been embraced also. The world is global village. A child who was born and raised in Bermuda has to call Bermuda their home.

  15. Average Bermudian says:

    Kangaroo Westpalm Sickofantz,navin bluebird etc
    all are ***holes
    fools
    And I said it

  16. Oh,I see now says:

    Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:
    February 8, 2016
    We all know what the PLP did.
    You’re saying the OBA is no better.

    Okay, so what’s our other options?

    (There in lies )the real problem heh heh I couldn’t resist the play on words.

  17. Pete says:

    I would Like to ask What does the PLP define whose a Bermudian ?
    Roban don’t sound Bermudian to me ! how long, from where ?
    Surely any family that have lived / worked, contributed , and been Law abiding for several decades, should be offered full rights of abode.

  18. shafted says:

    Status by marriage only!! Get rid of PRC! Like the Indians we are slowly having our land/rights taken away from us.

  19. steve says:

    in other news, Minister Fahy continues to try and raise human rights standards in the Bermuda Islands to at least something comparable to a world standard. unfortunately a portion of the population will reveal their prejudice,ignorance,religious intolerance,paranoia… Fahy will be insulted and called everything evil (including a canadian-yuk! lol) Well,I see him as an educated decision maker that cares about Bermuda and hopes to provide a better place for all Children including his own.

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