Moratorium On New Work Permits In Certain Jobs

November 2, 2020 | 14 Comments

Noting that “Bermuda is currently experiencing unparalleled levels of unemployment,” the Government will place an immediate moratorium on new work permits in certain job categories for a 6-month period ending on April 30th, 2021.

The 6-month expansion for closed categories is for new work-permits and not renewals of work permits the Government said, and they provided a list of over 40 categories which will be affected:

  • 1. Bank Teller
  • 2. General Bartender
  • 3. Commercial Cleaner
  • 4. Fisherman
  • 5. Travel Agent/Consultant
  • 6. Administrative Assistant
  • 7. Room Attendant
  • 8. Kitchen Porter
  • 9. Dish/Pot Washer
  • 10. Kitchen Assistant [or similar]
  • 11. Tennis Instructors
  • 12. Golf Instructors
  • 13. Handyman
  • 14. Reporters/Journalists
  • 15. HR Officer/Manager
  • 16. Recruiter
  • 17. Customer Car/Service Rep
  • 18. Seasonal Work Permits
  • 19. Interns
  • 20. Carpet Installer
  • 21. Entertainer/Musician
  • 22. Technician salesperson
  • 23. General Carpenter
  • 24. Landscape Gardener [entry level]
  • 25. Photographer
  • 26. Waiter/Server
  • 27. Personal/Executive Assistant
  • 28. Barber
  • 29. Senior Clerk
  • 30. Warehouse Clerk
  • 31. Security guard
  • 32. Laundry Attendant
  • 33. Real estate agent
  • 34. Teaching Aide
  • 35. Para professional
  • 36. Legal executive
  • 37. Librarian
  • 38. Public Relations officer
  • 39. Child care assistant
  • 40. Electrician
  • 41. Plumber

This was announced at a press conference held this afternoon [Nov 2] by Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban and Minister of Labour Jason Hayward, with Minister Hayward noting that “Bermuda is currently experiencing unparalleled levels of unemployment.”

“This has translated into Bermuda’s worse job crisis in modern times. We estimate that at minimum the unemployment rate has doubled from 2019 levels and we expect further contractions in employment levels over the coming months,” the Minister said.

“The moratorium will run in parallel to the execution of the government Job Strategy. This is not a normal course of action. However the Government must take extraordinary measures at this time.”

“The Government acknowledges that there will always be a need for non-Bermudian workers in Bermuda and we value their contributions. However, when faced with this kind of job crisis- the worst in recent history – getting Bermudians back to work is the priority.”

Minister Hayward’s remarks:

Good day to members of the media and the listening public. Thank you for your attendance and for watching this press conference.

As you are aware the current economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 Pandemic has led to an unprecedented job crisis world-wide, and Bermuda is no exception. In our effort to be responsive, this Government seeks to utilize the effective implementation of labour policy to support Bermudian employment. This will be a critical component in assisting Bermuda to attain labour market stability.

Bermuda is currently experiencing unparalleled levels of unemployment. This has translated into Bermuda’s worse job crisis in modern times. We estimate that at minimum the unemployment rate has doubled from 2019 levels and we expect further contractions in employment levels over the coming months.

We have been made aware of large scale redundancies in the hospitality and financial services industries, as well as, job contractions in retail establishments. As Bermuda enters its winter period which is normally a time when employment levels decline, it is clear that additional measures are required to support Bermudians who seek to return to the workforce.

With that said, in order to support the Government’s aim to re-integrate the many displaced workers back into the workforce, the Bermuda Government will expand the occupations listed under the “Closed Category Jobs”, under section 3.6 of the current Work Permit Policy, placing an immediate moratorium on new work permits for these jobs. This will be in place for a 6-month period ending April 30th, 2021.

It should be emphasized that this moratorium does not impact work permit renewals. However, the Government will continue its practice of reviewing and scrutinizing work permit renewals to gain assurance that Bermudian workers are being treated fairly and being provided with adequate job opportunities in their own country.

The Government is releasing today a revised list of job titles that now comprise the list of closed job categories. That list is attached to the Press Release to be issued today.

The moratorium will run in parallel to the execution of the government Job Strategy. This is not a normal course of action. However the Government must take extraordinary measures at this time. We recognize the magnitude of the unemployment problem facing Bermuda and we must do things differently. It is now absolutely necessary for the Government of Bermuda to provide labour market interventions with the aim of getting Bermudians back to work.

The Government acknowledges that there will always be a need for non-Bermudian workers in Bermuda and we value their contributions. However, when faced with this kind of job crisis- the worst in recent history – getting Bermudians back to work is the priority.

As a result, non-Bermudians who are no longer on an active work permit are advised to make alternative arrangements as permission to reside and seek further employment in Bermuda will generally not be accepted. It must be made clear that the 6-month expansion for closed categories is for new work-permits and not renewals of work permits.

In an effort to address youth unemployment, the Department of Workforce Development in collaboration with industry stakeholders will implement a Graduate On-the-Job Trainee Programme to accommodate recent graduates who are currently unemployed.

The programme aims to enroll participants before the end of 2020 with the program to run during the first quarter of 2021. The aim is for graduate students with degrees to obtain the requisite experience, which will assist them in securing full-time employment.

In addition to this programme, the Ministry of Labour will be rolling out the following initiatives in alignment with our Jobs Strategy:

  • The Ministry and the Department of Workforce Development will provide training and development opportunities for Bermudians with partial salary subsidies for on-the-job training.
  • The Ministry has partnered with the restaurant industry stakeholders to provide comprehensive waiter/server training.
  • We are working with the cleaning industry to provide training for residential and commercial cleaners.
  • We are partnering with the Bermuda College to ensure its trades courses are promoted and financially supported.
  • Department of Workforce Development will resume interview skills training to ensure persons are confident and well prepared for the recruitment process.
  • The Ministry has partnered with employment agencies who have agreed to host a national working initiative in order to support professionals who have found themselves displaced from the workforce.
  • The Ministry has met with CPA Bermuda and agreed to work on a collective strategy to promote and support a greater volume of Bermudians obtaining accountancy certifications.

Over the coming weeks, specifics about the aforementioned programmes will be shared. We are encouraging Bermudians to take full advantage of the opportunities this Government is affording them.

Thank you. At this time, I welcome questions from the media.

Revision to Work Permit Policy: Closed Categories Jobs

The Department of Immigration wishes to advise the public of the following additions to the list of occupational categories that are now included under Closed Category Jobs per Section 3.6 of the currently published Work Permit Policy. The following job categories will be added to the closed job categories effective immediately and until April 30, 2021. This shall apply to new work permit applications only and will not affect work permit renewals of existing permits:

  • 1. Bank Teller
  • 2. General Bartender
  • 3. Commercial Cleaner
  • 4. Fisherman
  • 5. Travel Agent/Consultant
  • 6. Administrative Assistant
  • 7. Room Attendant
  • 8. Kitchen Porter
  • 9. Dish/Pot Washer
  • 10. Kitchen Assistant [or similar]
  • 11. Tennis Instructors
  • 12. Golf Instructors
  • 13. Handyman
  • 14. Reporters/Journalists
  • 15. HR Officer/Manager
  • 16. Recruiter
  • 17. Customer Car/Service Rep
  • 18. Seasonal Work Permits
  • 19. Interns
  • 20. Carpet Installer
  • 21. Entertainer/Musician
  • 22. Technician salesperson
  • 23. General Carpenter
  • 24. Landscape Gardener [entry level]
  • 25. Photographer
  • 26. Waiter/Server
  • 27. Personal/Executive Assistant
  • 28. Barber
  • 29. Senior Clerk
  • 30. Warehouse Clerk
  • 31. Security guard
  • 32. Laundry Attendant
  • 33. Real estate agent
  • 34. Teaching Aide
  • 35. Para professional
  • 36. Legal executive
  • 37. Librarian
  • 38. Public Relations officer
  • 39. Child care assistant
  • 40. Electrician
  • 41. Plumber

By way of reference, the following are the current Closed Category Jobs that were already included in Section 3.6 of the Work Permit Policy, and these will remain unchanged:

  • 1. Airline Ground Agent
  • 2. Retail Floor Supervisor
  • 3. General Labourer
  • 4. Office Receptionist
  • 5. Painter
  • 6. Salesperson
  • 7. Tourist Retail Salesperson
  • 8. Taxi Driver
  • 9. Wallpaper Technician
  • 10. Grocery Packer
  • 11. Cashier
  • 12. Courier

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Comments (14)

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  1. Noboday says:

    Irrational decisions made with little to no thought on how this will negatively impact businesses.

    • sandgrownan says:

      It does bear all the hallmarks of a knee-jerk reaction without any thought of consequence. It is typical, of course, PLP modus operandi.

  2. Really says:

    Talk doesn’t match action. Lies lies and more propaganda.

  3. Finally! says:

    Finally. These jobs should only be open to Bermudians for the foreseeable future. I don’t understand why only new permits fall into this category. These jobs should be for Bermudians until every last Bermudian who wants to be employed is employed!

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “until every last Bermudian who wants to be employed is employed!”

      Yes, but how many Bermudians do know who want a *career* in commercial cleaning?

      This has been a problem in Bermuda for decades. A person will take a job for the sake of having a job and then move on with little or no warning when a better job comes along.

      A business needs reliable employees day in and day out, not employees who come to work when they feel like it.

  4. Adklee says:

    3…so BCL is done??? And only a year after the 170-years celebration…WOW

    14…hmmmm, aren’t the more acclaimed/experienced reporters non-Bermudians??? Don’t amswer that.

    28…What about hairdressers???

    39…If this is code for nanny, these busy/lazy/rich workers will either have to reduce the job requirements or leave the island. Which is more likely?

  5. Joe Bloggs says:

    Jobs like Bartender have always been closed to ex pats. There are enough Bermudians to go around.

    But jobs like Commercial Cleaner, Administrative Assistant (Secretary), Reporters/Journalists and Waiter are jobs where there have never been enough qualified Bermudians who want the job in my lifetime. And I am a Baby boomer (Born before 1965)!

  6. bluenose says:

    We need many more people in Bermuda, not fewer!

    • Patrice says:

      Notice – only low paying jobs – nothing new….
      While many international businesses still do not have many initiatives for entry level workers or placement of our students or much policing.
      I have had to many young tenants with basic degrees get a job with Delot…… ; yet my niece can’t get in with a college degree and a positive resume due to consistent summer employment of 4 years, despite them claiming to look for young Bermudians.
      Everyone employs the students for summer. It’s the full time employment that becomes a problem.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      We need leadership, not leader-sheep.

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