Terming it the “worst jobs crisis in modern times” with “unparalleled levels of unemployment” in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward, announced a moratorium on new works permits with 41 jobs now “closed” to non-Bermudians.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the Minister said even more job losses were expected in the form of “large scale redundancies” in Bermuda’s hospitality industry and financial services sectors.
He also stated that there will be more job contractions in the island’s retail sector in the months ahead.
The immediate moratorium on new work permits in certain job categories for a six-month period will not end until April 30, next year. And the new list includes travel agents, administrative assistants and journalists.
“This shall apply to new work permit applications only and will not affect work permit renewals of existing permits,” said Mr Hayward.
“As Bermuda enters its winter period, which is normally a time when employment levels decline, it’s clear that additional measures are required,” he added.
“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.”
The newly closed job categories include:
- Bank Teller
- General Bartender
- Commercial Cleaner
- Travel Agent/Consultant
- Administrative Assistant
- Room Attendant
- Kitchen Porter
- Dish/Pot Washer
- Kitchen Assistant (or similar)
- Tennis Instructors
- Golf Instructors
- HR Officer/Manager
- Customer Car/Service Rep
- Seasonal Work Permits
- Carpet Installer
- Technician salesperson
- General Carpenter
- Landscape Gardener (entry level)
- Personal/Executive Assistant
- Senior Clerk
- Warehouse Clerk
- Security guard
- Laundry Attendant
- Real estate agent
- Teaching Aide
- Para professional
- Legal executive
- Public Relations officer
- Child care assistant
Jobs already on the closed category list:
- Airline Ground Agent
- Retail Floor Supervisor
- General Labourer
- Office Receptionist
- Tourist Retail Salesperson
- Taxi Driver
- Wallpaper Technician
- Grocery Packer
“The moratorium will run in parallel to the execution of the government Job Strategy,” said the Minister.
“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.
“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,” he added.
“It must be made clear that the six-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.”
Additionally, he said: “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