The Department of Immigration has moved to set the record straight on the policy for work permit holders looking to change jobs and employers, once they start working in Bermuda.

In a statement released on last week (Dec 29), a spokesman confirmed that the department “has seen an increase in inquiries and work permit applications for work permit holders who have worked for their initial employer for less than two years”.

But “Clause 4.6 of the 2017 Work Permit Policy states that work permit holders can only change jobs in the first two years when made redundant or on lodging a bona fide complaint with the Labour Relations Section of the Ministry of Economy and Labour against their employer.

“In such cases, the work permit holder may submit a written request to the Minister responsible for Immigration to waive the two-year requirement.”

A Government spokesman added: “Employers have invested time and financial resources in recruiting workers from overseas, and the policy is designed to protect that investment.”

It was also noted that “where the two-year requirement is not waived, the work permit holder must remain with the initial employer for two years or settle their affairs and depart Bermuda”.

On that note, the Department advised new employers looking to secure work permits for such applicants “will be refused, and the work permit holder cannot apply for permission to reside and seek alternative employment”.

“Should the work permit holder choose to settle their affairs and depart Bermuda, they can only secure work in Bermuda once the initially contracted two-year period of employment expires,” the spokesman added.

“These guidelines also apply to work permit holders who self-terminate.

“Employers and work permit holders are encouraged to review the Work Permit Policy (Clause 4.6), which only applies to work permit applications for Standard, Global and New Business work permits. For additional information, call 246-8093.”