Bermuda scraps rollover policy

The British Overseas Territory of Bermuda has ended its current six-year term limit on foreign workers’ residence “with immediate effect”, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy announced Wednesday.

Mr. Fahy said the move was one of several steps needed “if Bermuda’s economy is to grow”.

“The elimination of the policy: Measures to Inhibit Long-Term Residency represents a giant step forward,” Mr. Fahy said in his address. “It represents the red-carpet approach, conveying that Bermuda is open for business.

“[The rollover is] a policy that has been identified as a barrier to job creation.”

Mr. Fahy differentiated between the six-year term limit and the issuance of work permits for foreign workers who are employed in Bermuda. He said the work permit system should be adequate to ensure that qualified Bermudians are given jobs ahead of non-Bermudians.

“I want to remind all Bermudians that every work permit holder is in Bermuda for a defined period based on the length of their work permit,” he said. “When a one, two, or three-year work permit expires, the job must be advertised.

“Where a qualified Bermudian applies for the job, the employer must extend the job to the qualified Bermudian applicant.”

Mr. Fahy said all work permit holders would have to sign declarations of their understanding that Bermudian Immigration Law does not confer rights of permanent residence upon work permit holders.

Although Mr. Fahy indicated in his announcement that he had the support of the Bermudian opposition party, members of the Progressive Labour Party disagreed sharply with that statement, calling it “erroneous and disingenuous at best”.

Prior to the 17 December general election held in Bermuda, in which the former Progressive Labour Party government was defeated, the group had committed to immigration reform. However, Opposition Leader Marc Bean noted that the ruling government had campaigned on the promise of a two-year suspension and review of the term limit policy, not its elimination.

“The Progressive Labour Party understands the need for expatriate workers in Bermuda and supports the policies that make it more accommodating for them to set up employment and to relocate to Bermuda,” Mr. Bean said. “However, we also must strike a balance between this accommodation and ensuring opportunities for qualified and capable Bermudians are provided.”

The term limits issue is near to Cayman’s heart, with the local government here having enacted what was referred to as a two-year “suspension” of the policy in October 2011. That suspension is set to expire in October this year, potentially leaving some 1,400 non-Caymanian workers in limbo.

The current interim government has said it does not plan to act on any significant immigration reform proposals prior to the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly on 26 March.

Former Premier McKeeva Bush’s government was considering proposals at one time to eliminate Cayman’s current seven-year term limit and extend it to ten years, allowing any foreign workers who stayed here that long to apply for permanent residence.

However, that proposal never came to fruition prior Mr. Bush’s expulsion from his leadership role by members of his own United Democratic Party government.

 

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Big move for Bermuda, I am sure that doesn’t make a lot of local people happy. He must not be very interested in getting reelected. As far as who has the advantage, as with Cayman I still tend to believe that qualified local people do simply because of the fact that it costs so much more to hire expats. I still believe that if someone opts to hire an expat instead of hiring a Caymanian and bear the extra cost, they must have more of a reason than they just don’t like Caymanians as some people suggest, or that there’s some kind of conspiracy to keep Caymanians unemployed. When it comes down to it any business owners main concern is his bottom line and the numbers are what really matter.

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  2. Bermuda is getting ready to compete. Watch out Cayman’s Insurance and Fund Admin industries. If that country’s culture becomes less anti-expat worker and we do not, there will be far more vacant commercial office space here….that space is generally not suitable for re-fitting into low income housing I fear.

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  3. That is Bermuda, More power to them. This is Cayman, and we cannot do that because we are having tons of problem as it is finding work for Caymanians.
    If that was to happen here I know the Exodus would definately cause a physical war between Foreign workers and Caymanians. All Hell would break loose.
    But what really makes me think is that we have some foreign people living here on work permit who are not using their heads. I would be ashamed of myself to go into another man,s country and behave they way they do. I dont say that I would not go to another place and like it and want to live there, but why on earth would I want to critize, write nasty blogs in the paper and want to fight Caymanians for their country. I say the key to this is to try and get along and be nice. The simple fact is that the now generation is agressive and will not put up with what we old folks put up with. All Hell will break loose in Cayman if the Government even thinks about it.

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  4. The removal of economic inhibitors is the first step towards rejuvinating the economy.

    Enough of this us vs them idiocy, growing the economy to the benefit of all must be the mandate for long term stability.

    Cayman Islands as well can not live in a vacuum, if you want prosperity you must re-embrace the ideals that built Bermuda and this nation in the first place.

    Create the reason people want to invest, a safe and secure open environment where determination and hard work is rewarded with prosperity for all.

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  5. Coyote I imagine that you and NJ2 Coyote are both foreigners..
    The simple fact is search your heart and answer your own thoughts and question. Do you really think Cayman is going to miss those of you who wrangle us for our Island. No we will not. Because there are other in line who want to come. So considering Bermuda might be a good thing. Cayman has no competition. I have been hearing that threat from Expats living here for ages, and have wondered why the same persons are still here. The business places hire foreign workers instead of Caymanians because they can work them like Old Horse in all areas, but the Caymanian will pack his tools at five and go home to his family.
    The business places do not want to see that. They want you to stay on until 8 9 o clock at night, burning the candle. No my friends it wont work.

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  6. The xenophobia exhibited by some Cayman Islanders would give the impression that all are like that! Sad to say, I have met some awesome Cayman Islanders while visiting there. The anti foreigners vs Caymanian debate need to stop. If all the foreigners should leave Cayman Islands I am very positive the country will not survive! The complexity of the economic foundation of the Cayman Islands is built upon import labour. Take away the import labour! You will take away the economic future. Notice, Since the roll over alot of Caymanian Businesses had to close down! Many Caymanian shop aboard! It is the immigrants who supports the lifeblood of Cayman businesses! It is immigrants money that is within the banks! Not Caymanians! However, I do understand the need to protect ones identity. Citizenship is dare to Cayman Politics! The right to be Caymanian! So I can live and contribute to the well being of the Cayman State and cannot get Status! Interestingly, alot of Caymanians have US citizenship!

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  7. For the one person that dislike my comment! Let us do some history! Examine the Cayman Islands before the economic boom! What was the society like then? And look at the success and development now as a result of the economic boom! Remember the finance industry is foriegn people money Not Caymanians! This is one of the pros of the theory of globalization but one of the effect is that it challenges the whole idea of citizenship and residency! As the world evolves should we take a new look at what a citizen really means and who should be qualify! The immigration debate s not only in Cayman but in the US too! It is an old long debate and we will still continue to have it!

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  8. To Hunter, Yep I am a Foreigner as you suggested. But what you may not realize is that I do not and never have worked in Cayman I just happen to have invested my retirement saving into Property here, why you ask ? Because I love Cayman and think it will be a great place for me spend my Golden Years, I like the Climate the lovely blue water and the friendly people, contrary to the impression you may get from a lot of comments, the vast majority of Caymanians are friendly, kind and hard working people. And although the crime seems to be increasing lately I still feel safer in Cayman then I do it a lot of other places, however being raised in New Jersey I know how to watch my back as well as the value of a Home Alarm System. One thing I can say is that whether you realize it or not you sometimes have to work hard and go the extra mile to keep a job and get ahead, I’ve had to this all my life so this isn’t something new or something isolated to Cayman. And I for one can understand why a business owner would be more willing to hire the person that’s more willing to go the extra mile or work overtime to get the jobs done over someone who will drop everything at the stroke of 5 and walk out, whether they be Caymanian or not. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve had to burn the midnight oil to get the job done, it’s called commitment. After reading your comment I guess it does make a little since why someone would rather pay a fee for someone that would work hard, but I still bet that same person would rather have a Caymanian of the same caliber with the same work ethic and not have to pay a fee for them.

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  9. The only people who say that Caymanians are against foreigners are foreigners. Caymanians are saying that they want an opportunity for employment. For all those who are worried about Caymans economy sliding in the pits if they leave , bull!. The expats are protecting their job by discrediting islanders as lazy and uneducated. You hear the same drum beat blog after blog island after island.

    The newly elected government of Bermuda did run on a platform that included term limit reform, they told the people they intended to look at a two year suspension, but just a month into their term they showed that they lied to the people of Bermuda, under the guise of consultation with what they call stake-holders and completely scrapped the policy. Foreigners used the same scare tactics in Bermuda they are using in Cayman. Many care less if Cayman become a powder-keg of discontent, they can simply go home as they do when a hurricane threatens. Structural racism is alive and well in cayman, and any affirmative action introduced to combat it will be cried down as ant-expat or reverse discrimination..

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  10. You all have missed a very valid point
    at the end of the work permit, the job MUST BE advertised and if a qualified Bermudan applies he/she MUST be given the job. So while they are open to expats, they are saying put the locals first.

    Yes being open to globalisation is good, but the fact remains if people living in their own country who are more than qualified are not employed and ignored, how stable will the country be? Social environment has a lot of bearings on the economic environment.

    The comment that people are employed only on merit is a myth. In Cayman the reality is that there is in fact discrimination in many areas of employment both against Caymanians and expatriates. Labour and immigration policies in this country needs to be revamped!

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  11. Turks and Cacaos:
    Government disbanded, their leader seeking political asylum and now being held by his host country for extradition.

    Bermuda:
    After 14 years of leadership under PLP changed its leadership who immediately reversed affirmative action policies on term limits, more is sure to follow.

    Cayman:
    Premiere removed, ruling party fragmented. More questions out there than answers..

    Jamaica:
    Movement of most of the UK embassy function from that island to Dominica..

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  12. @caymanian-on-guard it is important to read and interprets what is on the paper before commenting! The US is transferring two of its services to DR to centralize the immigration of the Caribbean to one location! It is apart of the US cost saving effort! They are on a fiscal cliff! Just a point of correction! US not UK! Now, I am still trying to comprehend the relevance of that comment to the discussion at hand.

    The comment re The only people who say that Caymanians are against foreigners are foreigners. Come on! I have no interest in working in the Cayman ISlands. I have never work there before. I enjoy visiting there! That is the disclaimer! In addition, I read newspaper all across the Caribbean! I love the Caribbean! —– I am a outsider and Caymanians have told me about the discrimination foriegners faced there and also those Cayman Lawyers who are being discriminated against at the Top law firm! The jobs Cayman Islanders are discrimated against is not the cleaning job that majority Jamaicans have! Nor the teaching job that little or not Caymanians want BUT the White Collar Jobs! However, the attack on foreigners are usually the lower class jobs and seriously the white collar escape the blunt of the penalty becuz ….. I rest my case

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  13. NJ2Cay, Dont worry how I know you are a foreigner. It is just the negative way that foreign people come acrosswhen expressing themselves. I do not have to believe that you are an offshore investor, you can tell me anything, and be living next doot to me. However if you invested here and do not live here, you are one hell of a lucky man, and my suggestion to you would be come and spend a few years here and do not be BIAS and you will see. Of course why would you you eat in our local restaurants, or drink at our local pubs. You would join the others and support your own making plans and critizing Caymanians. Why do you think I commented on your comments in the first place? It was what you said. Why would you want to invest your money here and you do not live here? I do not believe a word you have said. So think about it and begin again.

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  14. Roberta’s comment below, is the most balanced and rational comment. I believe we need to get rid of the roll-policy, but I also believe fair is fair. There needs to be a balanced approach.

    You have to look out for the citizens of your own country! Every other country would not put their citizens second. The U.S. put their citizens first. The Irish put their citizens before the English. So it is nothing wrong for Bermudans or Caymanians to look out for their own when it comes to applying for a job.

    The question is HOW do you look out for your own? By adopting an arbitrary immigration policy or by simply ensuring Caymanians are well educated and are given the first preference when considering candidates for a job?

    I say scrap the rollover policy and enforce the Caymanian First Preference law!

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  15. Got a better idea, disregard what would seem obvious to the brain dead…. And rather, keep the roll over and bring in casinos to INJECT money into the economy… /sarcasm

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  16. Hunter, I would think the my ID NJ2Cay,’ New Jersey To Cayman’ would give anyone the idea that I am a foreigner as you so eloquently refer to me. I constantly mention in my comments that I am from New Jersey so anyone who’s read them should know that by now. No I do live in Cayman but I do spend quite a bit of time here roughly 5-6 months a year, as far as being a lucky man for being able to invest in property in Cayman, I prefer to consider myself a hardworking man. I am nowhere near rich but I bust my butt for every little grain I can get. As far as me being bias, I don’t think so. Growing up black in the US I’ve faced my own set of hardships over the past 50 years as well as Bias, so it’s nothing new to me, on the other hand I know quite a few people who choose to use excuses such as the Man is keeping me down while they do nothing to better themselves or don’t like hard work while blaming their sorrow on someone else. None of my comments were meant to judge anyone I just speak on my observations and my attitude has always been that if you have to work hard and bust your butt to get ahead there’s a good chance that you will, but if you don’t there’s no chance. I myself am the type of person the when faced with adversity tend to push harder. There’s been plenty of times when I had to work twice as hard as the Blond haired guy sitting next to me, but I did it because in the end that job was just a means to an end and I was there for the money. I get what you’re gripping about saying that business owners prefer to hire foreigner who are willing to work longer hours, but you also have to realize that anyone running a business is going to be more interested in the employee that they can get more work out of whether it a Caymanian or Expat, you’d be surprised how many people like the extra pay for overtime..

    As far as eating at your local restaurants, I just eat where and what I like whether it be Papagalos, Singh’s Roti Shop, Champion House or Vivian’s. Over the Edge has great food and it’s close to home, but my wife likes Brunch as Hemmingway’s. The point is I eat where I want to, because I am the one who worked for the money that’s paying for the meal.

    Why would I want to invest my money here is because I like it here and hate the cold weather, taxes are too high in the New Jersey, water is brown, do I need to go on..

    I have always had the same stance on this whole Expat or Caymanian controversy and that is that if you are Caymanian and a good hard working person that’s qualified for the job you have a better chance at getting it than an expat. If an employer has two employees one Caymanian and one expat both doing the same job and he has to choose, he is going to choose the hardest working one, whether they be Caymanian or not. Point being, the answer is to make yourself the better choice. Do whatever it takes whether it be Education, Hard work or longer hours, sometimes you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

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  17. NJ2Cay: I have read your comments for over a year now at least, and I like your style/rhetoric. Having come and gone from Cayman last fall, after attempting to live and raise my family there with the husband, creating a life for ourselves; and coming from a pretty good place (Canada), I love and miss Cayman. But I do not miss the the politicking, the expat slurs/anti-expat propaganda. And yes, I never, in my time in Cayman, encountered anything but lovely people, expats and Caymanian’s alike. In a years time, our little family spent 100K just living; rent, shopping local for food/groceries, etc. Eating at local establishments, partaking in anything and everything local was the way in which we rolled. No, we are not priviledged foreigners. My bloodline and roots extends deep into the Caribbean. I will always miss Cayman. If things change maybe one day we will return…when the dust settles…

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  18. There are a number of comments on here about Caymanian xenophobia, expat slurs etc. However, that is a little one-sided. Caymanians have to endure daily insults to Caymanian culture and identity including slurs such as ‘Caymanians are lazy, unreliable, incompetent employees’. Let’s all be fair and constructive in our criticisms.

    FairandBalanced – Caymanians who have acquired U.S. citizenship did so according to U.S. immigration laws. They did not demand that the U.S. change their laws to suit their personal situations and circumstances. As you know, U.S. citizenship is not handed out on the basis that you have contributed to the U.S. economy otherwise every Caymanian would be entitled to it.

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