Immigration Reform Group Terms Of Reference

May 9, 2016

The Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group released their Terms of Reference today, saying “these Terms will guide our workflow and ensure a careful, research-based and inclusive approach to our deliberations.”

The group said that a “key aspect of this will include public consultation and input” and the “public can either make a submission to our drop box located on the ground floor of the Government Administration Building on Parliament Street, call us on 504-4664 or send us an email to immigationbda@gmail.com.”

“We will first deal with the issue of children adopted from overseas by Bermudians and the rights and privileges that should be extended to them, we invite comment and submissions from any interested party,” the group said.

The full statement from the group follows below:

The Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group is pleased to release its Terms of Reference today. These Terms will guide our workflow and ensure a careful, research-based and inclusive approach to our deliberations. A key aspect of this will include public consultation and input.

We will first deal with the issue of children adopted from overseas by Bermudians and the rights and privileges that should be extended to them, we invite comment and submissions from any interested party.

The public can either make a submission to our drop box located on the ground floor of the Government Administration Building on Parliament Street, call us on 504 4664 or send us an email to immigationbda@gmail.com. It is our intention to have our policy on this issue formulated by June 10, following consultation, and then, submitting it to Cabinet.

The next issue to be considered immediately after this involves maintaining the integrity of mixed status families.

We also are pleased to welcome Mr Steven Todd as a member of our Group to replace Mr Warren Jones who resigned reluctantly due to other commitments.

The Group wishes to thank the following for their assistance to us over the past week: [1] Mr Shane McDonnell for providing the phone and service on a complimentary basis [2] Mr Chris Farrow from the Government Estates Department for arranging for the drop box location.

Terms of Reference

Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group

1. Purpose

The Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group [the ‘Group’ or the “Working Group”] was formed as a result of large scale protests against the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2016, known as ‘Pathways to Status’. The protesters instead called for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

The Group was established to review and propose amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. Its formation is a result of an agreement reached between the Bermuda Government and groups calling for collaboration on immigration reform. The Group will follow established principles of good consultation as prescribed by law and applicable in Bermuda, as per the standards of proper consultation applied by the courts as outlined in Volume 12, Issue 3 of the Judicial

Review provided to the Group.

2. Aims

Consult with the community and propose policy recommendations that will form the basis of legislation on [1] what can be broadly called children and family provisions [2] the grant of Permanent Resident Certificates and [3] the grant of Bermuda status. In particular, the group will consult and propose policy recommendations in the following areas:

  • Adoption provisions [clause 5 - inserting new section 18AA]
  • Dealing with children who are born in Bermuda or who arrived in Bermuda at a young age [clause 14 – inserting new section 31AA[1][b]]
  • Maintaining the integrity of mixed status families [clause 15 – amending section 31B]
  • The terms and conditions for the grant of Permanent Resident Certificates after 15 years of residence.
  • The terms and conditions for the grant of Bermuda Status after 20 years of residence.

The Group recognizes that the aforementioned areas are involved and/or intertwined thus the Group shall consider topics that may venture into other parts of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 as applicable or broader issues related to immigration, migration etc. as might arise.

Further, the Group accepts there are many other issues that require reform and notes that the Agreement which created the working group makes provision for the Labour Advisory Council to concurrently propose policy and legislation for many of these issues.

3. Membership

Membership of the Group is comprised of the 10 members appointed collaboratively by the Government and the groups representing those calling for comprehensive immigration reform.

4. Working Methods

  • We seek to obtain solid data, establish sound standards and access independent data-based projections of short and long-term impacts.
  • Any member of the public is welcome to submit information to the working group. Information may be delivered in hard copy, electronically or verbally.
  • We will consult with all stakeholders and invite their submissions.
  • We will seek services, input and guidance of professional and technical experts on immigration/migration and other areas of relevance, especially as it relates to British Overseas Territories and any other relevant jurisdictions, including a thorough analysis of applicable laws and legal precedents as might relate to Bermuda
  • We will review relevant practices as it relates to British Overseas Territories and any other relevant jurisdictions.
  • We will examine other jurisdictions’ processes with regard to policies and regulations.
  • We will work to develop policy by consensus. In the event of an impasse a lack of consensus will be documented.
  • The Group will be committed to sustained and ongoing engagement reflected by holding public meetings to ensure full public consultation.

5. Group Responsibilities

Role of the Chairman: The Chairman is responsible for the integrity and fulfillment of the Group’s remit. The Chairman does not act independently of the full Group in decision making.

Role of Group Members: Group Members shall serve the interest of the Group, not self-interest. Steps must be taken to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest.

Role of the Recording Secretary: The Recording Secretary is responsible for preparing minutes and agendas under the supervision of the Chairman. The Recording Secretary will also provide such research, policy, logistics or other support as the Group may require from time to time. The Recording Secretary shall maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings of the Group, and shall liaise with anyone beyond the Group only upon the direction of the Group as articulated by the Chairman.

Attendance: Group Members are expected to attend the Group’s meetings. A Group Member who is unable to attend should notify the Chairman either directly or through the Recording Secretary.

Group Interaction with Stakeholders/Press: The Chairman will normally but not exclusively be responsible for interaction with Stakeholders and the Press. When speaking in respect of the work of the Group, members shall ensure that they articulate a common and previously agreed message.

6. Meetings

Scheduling: Meetings will be called by the Chairman. Meetings will be held at a venue or venues approved by the Group. Recognizing the time-sensitive nature of their work, the Group undertake to meet as often as is necessary to pull together recommendations consistent with the Group’s Terms of Reference. Group Meetings to be held weekly on a schedule and time as mutually agreed by all parties.

Agendas: The Chairman will develop, in consultation with the Group, the agenda for each meeting and distribute it in advance of the meeting.

Quorum: Meetings of the Group shall be valid when six [6] members are in attendance.

Conduct of Meetings: All members will be treated in an equitable, fair and respectful manner; meetings shall be conducted in an open and transparent manner; and Group Members will maintain confidentiality on all matters discussed within the Group.

7. Reporting

Interim Reporting: The Chairman will report once a week to the Minister and all other Signatories to the Agreement [prior to releasing information to the public/media]. The Group to agree on what is to be reported.

Final Reporting: Any final recommendations of the Group shall be submitted in writing to the Cabinet and all Signatories to the Agreement.

8. Deliverables

Prepare recommendations by way of a series of reports to be submitted to the Cabinet of Bermuda for discussion with a view that those recommendations may be incorporated in any future legislation that will be drafted.

9. Sharing of information and resources [including confidential materials]

  • Unless otherwise agreed, Group deliberations are confidential.
  • Decisions reached by the Group will be placed in the public domain.
  • The Group will issue regular updates to the media on our work progress.

10. How to Contact the Working Group

  • Telephone: [441] 504 4664
  • Email: lmmigrationBDA@gmail.com
  • Location of Drop Box for Submissions: Main Entrance, Ground Floor, Government Administration Building.

11.Review of Remit

This document may be amended from time to time as the Group decides is necessary.

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Comments (11)

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  1. San George says:

    We already have a pathway to status – “Marry a Bermudian who is not subject to the Immigration and Protection Act 1956″. Can’t do that; get cracking. KISS – keep it simple stupid. OBA is just buying votes prior to general election. Next election will be about who we hate more – period!

    • smh says:

      Of course! Get foreigners marrying into our declining local population to solve our shortfall of population. You can’t make this stuff up. What next? Cloning Real Bermudians?

    • Not exactly says:

      Besides being isolationist, this “solution” fails to remedy the judgement against the Government that triggered these proposed reforms.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So someone who has been law abiding, worked and contributed to our community for 2 decades should have less rights or have less say in how their future is shaped, than someone who’s only claim to this country is a matter of a geographically genetic position or has only been married to someone of our geographic genetic position for half that time… I welcome all true Bermudians to our community, irregardless of their geographic position of their genetic origin.

    • campervan. says:

      On the current path without changes Bermuda WILL go bankrupt.
      That keeping it simple enough for ya?
      (feel free to dislike and ignore maths/reality)

  2. rhonda says:

    As much as I dislike Trump, he has Mastered the Art of the Deal….

    Get your opposition to perfect your rough draft…..

    No matter what they come up with you are still further ahead in your agenda than when you started.

    Donald said ban all Muslims. ..So Obama sets up a working group to make the indefensible palatable.

  3. Deshaun says:

    Keep them All out we can go back to growing onions and Lilly’s lets go independent 500000 Bermuda dollars to one US sounds like fun eh! Our 100 full time regiment will protect us as we will all be so happy the robbing and shootings will stop and we won’t be able to afford SUV’s to crash each week .

  4. Average Bermudian says:

    fey ?

    this process is xenophobic

    • Just the Tip says:

      Could you please spell his name right,cause you and others like you would be the first to lay into some one if they did that to a PLP memeber.

  5. rich says:

    Both sides committed to legislation by May 13. Now this Group is unilaterally shifting this agreed deadline by a month. What have these jokers been up to since?

    The agenda is transparently clear – sabotage through delay.

  6. no name says:

    People should focus on each issue individually. You don’t have to agree with each reform, but have an opinion for each situation. Right now it is Adopted Children and Mixed Status families. Can you actually say that they do not have a right to be Bermudian? To me this is a no brainer. They are Bermudian. When you are adopted by a Bermudian family that child is their child. If a child has mixed status (ie: one Bermudian parent and one non bermudian parent), they are still Bermudian by blood. I hear so many negative comments, but many people are not looking at each situation. Bermudian families are being torn apart (in these 2 cases) This needs to be reformed!!

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