Bill Tabled: Remove Land Licence Requirement

June 22, 2012

An amendment removing the requirement for couples, in which one spouse is a non-Bermudian, to obtain a land license was tabled in the House of Assembly this morning [June 22]. The law came into effect in 2010, with the land licences cost $1,375.00.

Minister Wayne Perinchief tabled the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Bill 2012 [PDF], saying, “I am also pleased to be tabling amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act to remove the requirement for couples, in which one spouse is a non-Bermudian, to obtain a license on the purchase of their own family home. This change is a responsive one and delivers on a promise this Government made earlier this year.

“In this Government’s 2010 Throne Speech we undertook to conduct a wholesale review of the Immigration Act. It remains a priority and I have renewed the search for a resource to conduct such a review. We must produce a set of laws in this area that have a 21st century outlook, designed to encourage growth in every sector, to protectthe rights of Bermudians and provide clear paths to citizenship for qualifying individuals,” said Minister Perinchief.

In addition, the Bill amends the Annual Rental Value [ARV] on homes for purchase by non-Bermudians from $153,000 to $177,000.

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will recall that this Government signalled its intention to revisit certain provisions of the law related to land holding policy.

Mr. Speaker, I can confirm to Honourable Members that the provisions of what has become known as “the 2007 Act” have expired such that Bermudians can now sell properties, meeting the requisite criteria to non-Bermudians. As we indicated throughout this process, these provisions were transitional and would eventually expire.

Mr. Speaker, a return to the market conditions which prevailed at the time these provisions were enacted is not in the best interests of property owners or those of our citizens seeking to become home owners.

A real estate market which is overly weighted and is sustained in favour of any one group is not healthy and defeats a primary aim of this Government; to promote conditions for young families to acquire their own homes.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated publicly on previous occasions, the ARV threshold for those properties available for purchase by non-Bermudians must be set at a level that promotes Bermuda as open to high net-worth individuals while preserving a market share for Bermudians that makes home ownership and asset improvement a realistic goal.

Mr. Speaker, I will introduce into this Honourable House a set of Regulations that have been gazetted today which set the ARV threshold for those properties available to non-Bermudians at $177,000.

Mr. Speaker, as I previously indicated, setting the ARV at this level is consistent with a long standing policy to provide the top 250 valued properties in Bermuda as available for purchase by non-Bermudians. This figure is not arbitrarily set but is based upon current data supplied by the Land Valuation Department.

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to be tabling amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act to remove the requirement for couples, in which one spouse is a non-Bermudian, to obtain a license on the purchase of their own family home. This change is a responsive one and delivers on a promise this Government made earlier this year.

Mr. Speaker, without descending into the particulars of the Bill itself, it is important to note that we will seek to take account of some of the commercial realities of property transactions in Bermuda and the Code of Practice required under the Bill will be developed in consultation with realtors, the conveyancing Bar and related Ministries.

Mr. Speaker, the Bill is forward-looking in its scope and provides the framework that will support the intended development of the tourism products planned for Morgan’s Point, Tucker’s Point and Park Hyatt.

Mr. Speaker, this exercise has taken some time to achieve. Numerous meetings, emails, research and discussions have yielded the Bill to be tabled today. Mr. Speaker, it is clear to me

that the law in this area is a blunt instrument too often pressed into service as a scalpel. In this Government’s 2010 Throne

Speech we undertook to conduct a wholesale review of the Immigration Act. It remains a priority and I have renewed the search for a resource to conduct such a review.

We must produce a set of laws in this area that have a 21st century outlook, designed to encourage growth in every sector, to protect the rights of Bermudians and provide clear paths to citizenship for qualifying individuals.

Mr. Speaker, delivering on these promises has been challenging and our imperfect product represents best effort based on the state of the law presently.

Rather than shirk from the challenge, I am reminded of the admonition of the late Honourable Member and this country’s first national hero, Dame Lois Browne-Evans, who said that laws must be easy for the ordinary man to understand. That is our next challenge.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (19)

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  1. Ryan says:

    Minister Perenchief be puttin in work! One of the (very, very) few actually getting things done in government.

    I do *not* like, however, what he has done with ammending the ARV–just open the island up! Welcome investment. What a stupid requirement.

    • Term Limit says:

      He isn’t “getting things done”, he is getting thing UNDONE. This is time wasted UNDOING previous work.

      Another PLP brainstorn now confirmed as A BAD IDEA. Introduced in 2010??? and already its being changed. Some would say that this is an admission that they don’t know what to do or how to do it. They entered saying they were going to fix things and make it happen. Instead they are now trying to fix the things that they themselves broke and going back to the way things were – prePLP.

      • Term Limit says:

        one more side note: At least they (we) have Paula Cox in charge now and not the Brown Crew that decieved us all – and in my opinion created most of the messes we are in. Say what you want about Premiere Cox, she is one of the few that truly see the big picture. Can you imaging if the Brown, Burtcrew were still around?

  2. Truth is killin' me... says:

    And for ones that paid for a stupid license they should get their money back or at least get a credit for $1375 towards their land tax bill!!!

    • jt says:

      $1375 is the tip of the iceberg. More in the range of $5000 in most cases once the necessary legal fees were paid. All money not being spent in local retil economy.
      The smart ones never paid as nothing was ever followed up on and no fines were ever administered after the “deadline”. All confirming it was a money grab from the start.

  3. Chart says:

    So having caused havoc in the real estate market – costing Bermudians incalculable sums – Government is reverting to the way it was.

    Congats you PLP incompetents.

  4. Family Man says:

    Only took them 2 years to realise this was poorly thought out initiative in the first place.

    • Term Limit says:

      Nope, they realized it a few months later. It took them two years to admit it!

  5. Sandgrownan says:

    Do I get my money back? Or the legal fees required to get it? Or damages for the loss of equity as they pissed around with the housing market?

    No? Thought not. Absolute twats, every last one of them. Come round to my place and canvas for my vote, I dare you.

  6. 32n64w says:

    How much time, effort and waste of resources did this PLP mistake cost the taxpayer?

    PLP – betraying Bermudians since 1998.

  7. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    A money grab is all it ever was . Now what about a repayment plan ?

  8. Limey says:

    Flip Flop Politics

  9. jt says:

    PLP line is that it was to prevent fronting. If that was true – why repeal it? Money grab.

  10. PLP says:

    If you vote for the PLP you are a Moron!!!! They have screwed us all!!!

  11. Amazed says:

    It was a PLP vibe and we are not feelin it

  12. William says:

    how does that old piece of wisdom go…….?

    “believe half of what you hear and half of what you see and then do not believe any of That!”

    or the old Bermudian saying
    “I,Like to believe,three things before breakfast.”

    • Blankman says:

      “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

      Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass)

  13. Cleancut says:

    “We are all worms. But i “believe” that i am a glow-worm.

    Paula Cox, Leader of the PLP.

    !Correction, Winston Churchill.