Immigration & Protection Amendment Act 2017

October 13, 2017 | 25 Comments

The Bill that was tabled in the House — the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment [No. 2] Act 2017 — is now available online, with the Bill seeking to amend the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 and to make amendments to Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1981.

Speaking in the House last Friday, Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said: “The bill entitled ‘Bermuda Immigration [No. 2] Act 2017′ seeks to amend section 8 of the principal Act to provide for the provisions of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 to operate and have effect, notwithstanding the Human Rights Act 1981.

“In essence this means that this bill seeks to exempt the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 from the primacy of the Human Rights Act 1981.

“This does not mean that the Immigration legislation can ignore the consideration of human rights,” the Minister added.

“Section 12 of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968, which has primacy over all Government functions and legislation, provides protection from discrimination based on race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed.

“You may ask why we are tabling this Bill. Over the years, the tenets of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956, i.e. to protect Bermuda for Bermudians, have been challenged and continue to be so.

“Unfortunately, the primacy of the Human Rights Act 1981 has caused some non-Bermudians to claim that they are being discriminated against based on their place of origin.

“There are very few countries other than Bermuda and Canada that allow their human rights legislation to extend to their immigration legislation; not even the United Kingdom allows this.

“In a country with limited resources, 22 square miles and a population of 65,000, the protection of land for Bermudians and the promotion and protection of Bermudians in the workforce is perfectly justifiable in a democratic society.”

The Bill, as tabled, is below [PDF here]

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Comments (25)

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  1. alistair maclean says:

    Yes it does: “Section 12 of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968, which has primacy over all Government functions and legislation, provides protection from discrimination based on race, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed”

    But the HRA covers discrimination due to:

    Race
    Colour
    Religion or beliefs or political opinions
    Place of origin
    Ethnic or national origin
    Sex
    Sexual orientation
    Marital status
    Disability
    Family status

    So why take these extra considerations out of immigration? It is clearly not just due to recent court cases

    Mr Brown should withdraw this Bill until there has been proper explanation and consultation.

    There is nothing wrong with protecting Bermudians (though we decry that nationalistic stance in the US) but there is everything wrong with undermining human rights – which are human rights for all.

  2. Well!!WELL!!
    The prior government had a serious stranglehold on us Bermudians . We are BORN BERMUDIANS.
    Putting Bermudians first is necessary.
    Happy that P.L.P. are in power.

    • Athena says:

      The HRA is meant to cover all NOT ONE SPECIFIC GROUP.

    • john Does says:

      Remember not that long ago the UK government threatened to take away British passports to Bermudians, if Bermuda ever went independent. The PLP said it was against human rights, now the PLP is now doing exactly that by taking human rights against immigration.

      • Ringmaster says:

        Ask Walton Brown what this means in simple terms. I doubt he knows. So how do the rest of us know if it’s good or bad? Where was the consultation? Of course, with 24-12 no consultation is needed. The lemmings will follow without question.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      This does nothing to prevent wrongful termination cases or cases of discrimination based on whether the person is local or foreign working here. Because it is in our constitution that we cannot discriminate based on a person’s place of origin… so what will primacy over the Human Rights Act achieve, other than to set us back to the sixties and seventies as far as equality goes. The Minister either doesn’t know what this is actually going to achieve, or is lying to Bermudians about what he wants it to achieve.

  3. Happy says:

    As someone posted:

    Categories of discrimination protected under the HRA vs those protected under the Constitution

    HRA:

    Race
    Colour
    Religion or beliefs or political opinions
    Place of origin
    Ethnic or national origin
    Sex
    Sexual orientation
    Marital status
    Disability
    Family status
    Criminal record (except where…etc)
    Age (NOTE: Not mentioned in s. 2, only ss.4 and 5)

    Constitution (s.12)
    Race
    Colour
    Creed
    Place of origin

  4. Zevon says:

    The PLP. Passing laws to limit our human rights.

  5. Very good, there are a lot of laws that should be amended that were made to disfranchise and undermind Black Bermudians back in de day.

    • Bermudian Patriot says:

      Some rights, more equal than others? Any laws that were made to disenfranchise and or undermine any Bermudian, should be addressed by all Governments. What laws do you currently have in mind for amendment?

    • Zevon says:

      Only an idiot applauds the government reducing human rights.

  6. NO MORE WAR says:

    AS it should be……Bermudians first

    • Ster08 says:

      So you are ok that non-Bermudians that are married to Bermudians can be discriminated against as well? So many of our own MPs were once in that position and now they want to hurt other Bermudians?
      Bermudians of age, gender, sex can be discriminated I believe but thats ok right?

    • Anbu says:

      See how “first” u r when the economy tanks even worse than it already has. Smh. King of the ashes mentality. No surprise really

  7. No consultation necessary says:

    Interesting version of the promise to consult and collaborate before changing immigration law. Especially one which strips out so many protections and all but rips up the HRA.

    People should actually contemplate the consequences if this Bill instead of simply supporting it because your preferred Party introduced it.

  8. cpm says:

    So Tweed will not get status

  9. Joey says:

    This dictatorship government is in full option single minister deciding for us all and transparency is letting the media know aftrewards

  10. Mark says:

    So shameful. So embarassed.

  11. Infidelguy says:

    In essence, these amendments are designed to protect the “rights” of one set of people by diminishing the “rights” of another set of people.

    The reasoning that some non-Bermudians are claiming that they are being discriminated against based on their place of origin, is not, in my opinion, valid justification for this kind of extreme legislative action from the government.

    If Walton Brown is looking to ensure that Bermudians have fair opportunities for employment in their own country, I suggest that he and his colleagues take a look the the Employment Act.

  12. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    So the party that promised collaboration on immigration reform, has unilaterally decided to implement an immigration reform that will set human rights advances back to pre-equalify movement, stripping protection from discrimination of sex, sexual orientation, disability, martial status, family status, age…

    One promise broken for the sake of political needing to an ideology that has failed every community/culture/nation that has ever tried to live by it. It is especially bad for us because we have nothing the world wants, so we depend entirely on how attractive we can make our selves to the world in the only arena we can compete in… business. It was this ideology chase that made our recession worse than the global one last time…

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