Minister: Bill Addresses Length Of Visitors Stay

November 20, 2022 | 5 Comments

Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward tabled the ‘Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2022′ bill, saying that it will “clarify and strengthen the provisions relating to the unrestricted period of residence of visitors to Bermuda.”

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday [Nov 18] the Minister said, “The resultant amendment to BIPA is that the “unrestricted period of residence” will be from six months from the date the visitor lands in Bermuda, to be a cumulative maximum period of six months in any 12-month period, from the first arrival date within that 12-month period. The amendments by way of the Bill, will mitigate visitors circumventing Immigration control.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table the Bill entitled: the “Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2022” [BIPA]. The purpose of the Bill is to clarify and strengthen the provisions relating to the unrestricted period of residence of visitors to Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, this Honourable House may recall that in July 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Labour extended the maximum period for a visitor to stay in Bermuda from 90 days to 180 days in accordance with BIPA. The extended period sought to encourage longer visitor stays and greater economic activity.

Mr. Speaker, this Bill seeks specifically to refer to a cumulative maximum period of 180 days in any 12-month period.

Mr. Speaker, Section 28[2] of BIPA defines “unrestricted period of residence” in relation to a visitor to Bermuda, as “the period of six months beginning the date on which the visitor lands in Bermuda or such lesser period as the Minister may specify by notice in writing served on that visitor.” This means that if a visitor leaves and then returns to Bermuda, upon returning, the visitor lands anew.

Mr. Speaker, the conundrum is that trying to interpret the current provisions in BIPA to refer to a maximum of six months in any one year would be straining the meaning of the words in the section, particularly because the section does not mention one year. Also, visitors can take advantage of the current policy by residing in Bermuda and circumventing Immigration control. For example, a visitor can arrive in Bermuda, stay for a period of six months, leave for one day, and return the next day and reside in Bermuda for another period of six months.

Mr. Speaker, to address this problem, the resultant amendment to BIPA is that the “unrestricted period of residence” will be from six months from the date the visitor lands in Bermuda, to be a cumulative maximum period of six months in any 12-month period, from the first arrival date within that 12-month period. The amendments by way of the Bill, will mitigate visitors circumventing Immigration control.

Mr. Speaker, the Bill will come into force at a later date by notice in the Gazette. The Bill will only impact visitors whose unrestricted period of residence or lesser stay, commences within the 6-month period prior to the coming into operation of the Bill. In this case such period or lesser stay will be computed under the revised changes to enable the necessary transition. The Ministry will undertake a public awareness campaign regarding these changes so that visitors understand in advance how they may be affected. Guidance will also be provided, pursuant to the Bill, for persons who may be so impacted once the Bill comes into effect.

Mr. Speaker, the functionality of the clarity of the unrestricted period of residence for all visitors will be calculated and monitored via the Department of Immigration’s Border Management System [BMS] by the addition of a new feature in the system which will detail the allowed length of stay [ALOS] per calendar year for all visitors. The completion of the work undertaken by the vendor for the BMS will determine when exactly the Bill will come into operation.

Mr. Speaker, as has been done during the past 12 months, at least, the Ministry will continue to ensure that visitors and all stakeholders are informed about alternative options to reside in Bermuda for longer uninterrupted periods; i.e. Work from Bermuda [One Year Residential Certificate] and Permission to Reside on an Annual Basis.

Thank You, Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (5)

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  1. About time says:

    Lots of abuse in this area. Folks coming saying it is a holiday and working. I see lots iof abuse so it is long overdue

    • sandgrownan says:

      blah blah blah…you obviously report all this abuse? This is pure PLP politicking, given the impression they are doing something, looking after the interests of Bermudians….but you know they are picking your pocket with the other hand.

    • saud says:

      There is no abuse. You’ve been fooled, again.

    • question says:

      pants on fire.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    Remember the reduction to 6 weeks? That is what killed the St. George winter yacht business.

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