National Security Minister Wayne Caines stated today that “making improvements” to Bermuda’s Work Permit policies “to strike the right balance between the legitimate expectations of Bermudians and the legitimate labour needs of businesses”.

Updating MPs on Immigration Reform plans, the Minister announced: “Tennis Professionals and Golf Professionals along with pot washers and kitchen assistants will also be moving to the closed category list.”

The improvements include “ensuring that Bermudians can secure employment in their own country,” said Mr Caines.

It “begins with assessing jobs currently listed in the closed, restricted, special and open job categories”, he added.

“With this in mind, the positions currently found in the closed category, for which work permit applications are not permitted are: Airline Ground Agent; Retail Floor Supervisor; General Labourer; Office Receptionist; Painter, Salesperson; Tourist Retail Salesperson; Taxi Driver; Wallpaper Technician; Grocery Packer; Casheir; and Courier.

“Tennis Professionals and Golf Professionals along with pot washers and kitchen assistants will also be moving to the closed category list.

“In the restricted category, work permit applications for these jobs will be carefully considered and may not result in approval of a work permit.

“In addition, jobs in the category must be referred to the Department of Workforce Development so that suitable qualified Bermudians who are registered can be referred to employers.

“It is expected that any referrals to employers will be seriously considered for employment in the relevant job,” said the Minister.

“The positions currently found in the restricted category are: Bank Teller; General Bartender (customer facing); Carpet Installer; Commercial Cleaner; Entertainer/Musician; Fisherman; Photographer; Technical Salesperson; Travel Agent/Consultant; General Carpenter; Administrative Assistant; Room Attendant; Kitchen Porter; Dish/Pot Washer/Kitchen Assistants or roles similar thereto; Landscape Gardener (Entry Level); General Mason.

“In contrast to the closed and restricted categories, work permit applications in the special category are positions which include: Child-Care Giver; Beauty Salon; Spa and Hairdressing Staff; Family Support; Fine Artist; Graduate Trainees; Hospital Nurse and Physician; Hospitality; Seasonal Work Permit; Interns; Live-In Domestic Employees (Private Home); Locum Pharmacist and Shared Pharmacists; Occasional Work Permit: Model and Casual or Part-Time Employment; Musician or Entertainer; Music School Teacher; Photographer; Restaurant Staff; Self-Employed Persons and Part Owners of a Bermuda Business; Categories of Jobs Identified by the Minister where there are large numbers of work permits.

“Positions not listed in the closed, restricted or special categories are considered open category jobs and work permit applications may be applied for,” the Minister added.

“It is hoped that any changes made will assist with skills enhancement, employment, and training and development opportunities for Bermudians who may be unemployed, under-employed or who are looking to make a career change.”

But he said: “Before proceeding with any proposed changes, the Government would like to have your feedback.” And he invited Mr and Mrs Bermuda residents to “send written concerns and/or comments regarding which jobs should or should not be in the Closed, Restricted, Special and Open job categories, with the reasons why, by visiting the Citizen’s Forum at www.forum.gov.bm before May 24, 2019”.

“Any decision made will affect all of us, and so it is of the upmost importance that everyone be given the opportunity, and follow through with voicing their opinion, concerns, or feedback on this most important issue.

“In addition to addressing the work permit policies, the Department of Immigration is working on many other initiatives that will address long standing and/or sensitive immigration issues such as: Mixed Status families, children born overseas to Bermudian parents, the Department of Immigration Process and Procedures, Public Service Orders, PRC holders, the Border Management System for the new airport.

“Policy and legislative development in support or changes to mixed status families, and other immigration related matters.”

Moving forward, he said the Government “will continue to keep the public updated on developments and involved in the process by periodically requesting feedback via the Citzens Forum” on www.forum.gov.bm.

The Minister concluded: “The public can also keep abreast of information and announcements by downloading government’s new TreeFrog app, available for free from the Apple and Google Play store.”

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