‘We Need To Change Our Views On Immigration’

September 16, 2019

We “need to change our views on immigration” and going forward our “approach must be more market based” and we should “reform immigration to enable job creation with appropriate protections.”

This was from the recently released Bermuda First report, which said they concluded that the most important, urgent decisions encompass three areas: Education, Health Care and Talent/Immigration.

And as far as immigration, the report said, “We need to change our views on immigration and avoid the over-protectionist policies of the past, as they resulted in unintended consequences. Going forward, our approach must be more market based.

“Our Immigration Recommendation: Reform immigration to enable job creation with appropriate protections.

“Bermuda must attract and retain the best talent if we want to remain competitive and at the forefront of innovation. Job creation hinges on this and we must find the balance in ensuring businesses have access to the talent they require, while developing appropriate safeguards for Bermudians without being protectionist. Undertaking the following steps will produce more jobs for Bermudians than the present immigration regime achieves:

  • “1. Aligning Government’s goals [e.g. GDP growth, attractive International Business [IB] domicile, increased population, etc.] with immigration policies;
  • “2. Shifting the mindset of the Immigration Department so that it recognises the needs of the business community, and the balance BermudaFirst is seeking to achieve;
  • “3. Resolving the issues associated with family and long-term residency;
  • “4. Adopting a workforce approach with companies that includes understanding their business model, organisational talent needs, expectations for Bermudian inclusion and accountability milestones for meeting Bermudianisation agreements in exchange for issuing all work permits required by such companies;
  • “5. Introducing a work permit scheme for the international business sector that can cater to the unique staffing needs of international businesses. One example would be distinguishing between work permits for Group employees who are in Bermuda on a rotation basis vs. those employees who are expected to fill long-term jobs; and
  • “6. Automating and streamlining the immigration process overall.

The ‘Bermuda First’ press conference held on September 12th

The report added, “Immigration policy in the twenty-first century cannot have nefarious intentions. It must reverse the effects of headwinds buffeting our economy. It must focus on diversity and agility. In the interest of diversity, no longer can the fount of immigration be solely people of European origin. Already we see evidence of increased diversity in the guest worker population and efforts in this regard should continue; it is not uncommon to encounter people from Africa or Asia whilst walking along Front Street.

“Moreover, the administration of immigration policy must be agile. Work permit applications must be processed quickly and transparently. In keeping with the necessity to grow the economy in the face of significant headwinds, immigration policy must serve to help business and the Government to attract talent to the Island. If we are to compete globally, then our immigration policy must act as a facilitator for the acquisition and retention of talent [whether Bermudian or overseas hires].

“County cricket provides a telling analogy for why a more open approach to immigration policy will meet resistance. The catchment area for drawing talent to a county cricket team is small, given that a county is no bigger than a parish. Teams face a dilemma. To win, a team must attract talent, but a county is unlikely to find among its ranks enough players that can win a championship. The dilemma for a county seeking to win a championship is that some hard-working local players will have to be benched in favour of better-skilled guest players. Under this scenario, it is possible for a county to field a team entirely made up of guest players, but this defeats the purpose of having a county game in the first place. This dilemma is resolved by having a limit on the number of guest players, but, inevitably, there will be some locals who will be replaced by outsiders.

“Immigration policy faces a similar dilemma. Some Bermudians will not be good enough to make the team of their choice. We must be willing to accept that there are select, key positions within our community where having the very best person in the role [i.e. one whose skills and expertise meet global standards] is more important than having a Bermudian in place.

“Where a Bermudian can meet the global standard, they should be given preference; however, if not, the appropriately qualified individual should be placed. Business is now global. In global business, it is not enough to have a certificate or experience. Soft skills – oral and written skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, adaptation, problem-solving, creativity, work ethic and leadership – are just as important as the certificate and experience.

“We should understand and acknowledge that an island of our size and it’s shrinking workforce will not be able to produce 100% of the talent necessary to sustain successful institutions whether they are local or international businesses or the Government.

“Therefore, our collective focus must be to ensure Bermudians have access to world class education and professional development in order to effectively compete for employment opportunities and objectively identify and secure the necessary additional talent needed to fill every job within our economy.”

The Bermuda First ‘Future State’ Report follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (19)

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  1. Goldie Locks says:

    When are we going to clamp down on fake marriages. Why wait 20-30 yrs when you can get status after 10.

  2. Average Bermudian says:

    Most,if not all, the persons of this panel are millionaires.

    How about including the views of everyday average Bermudians – who have to struggle everyday to earn a living.
    What do they think of these proposed initiatives ? This panel does not know!
    Why is it so – that if someone has had a successful career – that means that they are experts on all facets of life ?

    • Wahoo says:

      Maybe it does not mean they are experts on all facets of life (whatever that means). Maybe it just means that because they have been successful perhaps they have something to offer that would make Bermuda as a whole successful.

  3. The passport issues to be readdressed: lower the number of foreigners who come here to “work”;Government to pay CLOSER attention to foreigners coming here for NO significant, intelligent reason;a closer look MUST be taken towards the duration of stay here; foreigners could care less about Bermudians, hence
    the current government must re-look at length of time here for work, and have a solid, clearer understanding of ALL work PERMITS:
    monitor all work permits WEEKLY!!
    Bermudians must come first, whether the foreigner likes it or not.
    If the foreign worker dislikes that: LEAVE!!!!!

    • aceboy says:

      How can you change this kind of thinking? I don’t think it is possible.

    • wa says:

      “If the foreign worker dislikes that: LEAVE!!!!!”

      Will you be driving tweed to the airport?

    • Toodle-oo says:

      *foreigners could care less about Bermudians,*

      I know plenty of foreigners who very much care for Bermudians , well , at least ‘Real Bermudians’ , they wouldn’t have much time for you.

    • Wahoo says:

      Can you name Bermuda’s two biggest exports?

    • JAYBIRD says:

      I can only assume your comments are somewhat “tongue in cheek”, but in case you are actually serious, I would point out that that was exactly the policy implemented by the PLP government at the end of the last decade and indeed the foreigners did indeed leave – by the thousands.
      Which is why we find ourselves in the economic crisis that we now face , without enough people and investment to sustain our economy for the future.

    • Gustav says:

      Foreigners are guilty
      Always for everything
      Despite paying taxes for YOU
      Backwards and simple minder thinking
      Amagine all evil foreigners leave
      Who will pay the taxes , YOU ?

    • STFU says:

      Oh STFU! And that’s from a Bermudian! You are the reason why we suffer! Dumb a$$ statements like yours! Continue to sit on your wall boy and wait for the PLP check in the mail!

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    “We need to change our views on immigration and avoid the over-protectionist policies of the past, as they resulted in unintended consequences. Going forward, our approach must be more market based.”

    Yeah, good luck with that. The PLP is all about keeping Bermuda for “real Bermudians” and the OBA, to the extent it is relevant any more, had Parliament shut down by the Peoples Campaign for trying to debate-not implement, just debate-immigration reform.

  5. Vortex says:

    If you are a big hitter, someone who makes jobs for Bermudians, then let’s make PRC free and easy.

    At the moment it is a nightmare.

  6. Thinker says:

    How many bermudian nurses, doctors, accountants, dentists, chefs, teachers, do we have? if those certified professionals leave, this island will crumble into pieces. We just cannot fill in the void. internship is not a degree, we should emphasize on the need to provide a good education for bermudians then maybe in the next 20 years, we can fill those gaps but at the moment, swallow that stinking pride and be thankful that they are here to help.

  7. Real Deal says:

    no… We need to create and retain talent. talent that has the Islands interest at heart. any thing else is suicide

  8. Bermudians Furst says:

    Our current government are only interested in staying in power at all cost which in turn equates to a big fat pension after a period of time. I can only suggest that the electorate takes a good look under the hood because if you don’t see the obvious you won’t save the island of Bermuda.

  9. Charlly X says:

    I’d like to read the facts ! Not emotional crys ! Coulda shoulda woulda n pointing fingers won’t work !

  10. Foreigner says:

    Bermuda is no different than any other country. People move to survive everywhere. This island is profitable in the reinsurance market and has been for years. If Bermudians would like to be successful, then guide your children to go into that market. Otherwise, accept mediocre pay like that rest of the world. Where I’m from, the energy sector is profitable. I decided to go into reinsurance, which led me to Bermuda. Yes I miss home and I don’t send money home because all my expenses are in Bermuda. (the cost of living doesn’t just hit Bermudians). At times I wished I had focus my career in the energy sector, so I can remain in my own country. I love BERMUDA just as much as a “REAL” Bermudian ( whatever that means)and Bermuda is my home. Everyone makes a choice regarding their life, the government cannot do it for you.