IRAG Call For Govt To Withdraw Pathways Bill

March 13, 2016

In a statement issued late this evening, the Immigration Reform Action Group [IRAG] called “on the Government to withdraw the proposed Amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 otherwise known as ‘Pathways to Status’ and engage in comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders.”

This statement comes on the heels of extensive actions over the planned legislation, involving some half a dozen protests against it including Friday’s withdrawal of labour; as well as the large gathering on the Cabinet Grounds this evening in support of the initiative.

In addition, Facebook pages/groups as well as online petitions have been formed on both sides, with those both in favour and against the proposal seeking to make their voices heard.

People are expected to gather tomorrow morning again, and earlier this evening Opposition Leader Marc Bean said, “We must show up in numbers to show Premier Michael Dunkley that he and his OBA government cannot run roughshod over the futures of Bermudians.”

The Government has already confirmed that buses will not be running on Monday morning, and also advised that “there will likely be a disruption of public services” on Monday, adding that the “public is encouraged to make alternative arrangements wherever possible.

The statement from IRAG said, “We call on the Government to withdraw the proposed Amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 otherwise known as ‘Pathways to Status’ and engage in comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders to develop an immigration policy that advances and protects the rights of Bermudians and provides a responsible pathway to status.

“We have always welcomed expats to our shores and in our communities but we cannot be displaced as a result and that is primarily what this amendment will do. We are not anti-foreigner; we believe the following points should be taken into consideration before this amendment is passed:

  • What criteria must be met to receive status?
  • Why aren’t quotas being established as is the norm in other countries?
  • Why can’t those who have strong family ties be given first priority?
  • Implementing robust work permit policies to eliminate employer abuse which denies opportunities to Bermudians
  • Why can’t all stakeholders be involved in this process?

“We believe a comprehensive approach to immigration reform involving all stakeholders will provide the international investment community assurance that Bermuda has a stable immigration regime such that should governments change, the policy will remain intact.

“To our fellow Bermudians, we understand your concern for your families, we understand your fear of losing your job, but we are pleading with you to support us in our efforts to ensure our children, and grandchildren are not displaced. During lunch hours and after 5:00pm you are not at the will of your
employer.

“To the expat community, those with status concerns, those who have contributed to our country’s success, we are not against you. Please help us to encourage the government to come to the table so we can resolve this for the benefit of everyone.”

The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2016, as tabled, is below [PDF here]:

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Comments (7)

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  1. Rhonnda Oliver says:

    I’m just going to answer the headline.

    “No.”

  2. I who says:

    IRAG is a joke

  3. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Whether the Existing Pathways to Success is Tabled and successful under the present O.B.A. Government or not.When the Peoples Government,the P.L.P. Government gets back into Power ,which will definitely be after the next General Election.We will look closely at the Bill and reconstruct it favorably,and bring it to the people in its best form,and let the electorate vote on it.Democracy will be served,totally.No Problem.Peace.

  4. Think About It says:

    If these protesters really cared about bringing “all the stakeholders to the table”, they would not be fighting a bill that does exactly that.

    These people were not protesting when the PLP changed the immigration policies many times with no consultation?

    When this group says they are protecting “Bermudians”, they are not. Real Bermudians come in all shapes and sizes and walks of life. We are not represented by this group.

    I hope the government stays strong and passes this bill. Do the right thing, Bermuda.

  5. truth says:

    I wish the OBA would make things easier and just consult people before they made decisions.

  6. Informed Bermudian says:

    gentrification : the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

  7. LET'S GO TO THE POLLS says:

    DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT AND LET’S GO TO THE POLLS!

    Big Up Sister Enda