Visas: Reports of Prostitution & Sham Marriages

March 30, 2010

Minister of Immigration David Burch has announced that nationals of three countries [Panama, Philippines and the Dominican Republic] will have new visas requirements effective May 01, 2010.

Colonel Burch stated the Dominican Republic was added due to complaints of Dominican women being brought in to Bermuda to work as prostitutes.

The Immigration Minister stated that residents of Panama, the Philippines as well as the Dominican Republic have been added for a variety of reasons including reports of abuse, as well as instances of older Bermudians men marrying women in their 20′s from these specific nations.

Colonel Burch’s statement in relation to this follows below:

Secondly, effective May 1, 2010 I wish to announce a new visa requirement for Panamanian, Dominican Republic and Philippine nationals.

For some time now concern has been expressed about the ill treatment and the potential for abuse and victimization involving nationals from these three countries. When persons want to escape economic hardship, whether it be pursued through a sham marriage or by having a child for a Bermudian, problems do occur.

The Department of Immigration has received complaints and investigated cases where women have been brought to Bermuda specifically from the Dominican Republic for the purposes of prostitution. There have also been a number of cases where marriages with persons from Panama, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic involved significantly older Bermudian men married to women in their early twenties.

Moreover, when the Bermudian men arrive at the L. F. Wade International Airport to collect their spouses, often they cannot communicate with them as they do not speak each others’ respective language.

Requiring nationals from Panama, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic to become visa-controlled would permit the Department of Immigration to vet applications to determine whether a marriage is a sham or a bona-fide union.

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