FRIDAY, JAN. 13: More jobs are set to be added to the list of roles closed to work permits, a Government Minister said yesterday.
Patrice Minors, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, said that the move would open up posts for Bermudians struggling to find work in the recession.
Among the categories which could be closed to overseas candidates are building jobs like masons, carpenters, electricians and plumbers.
And she signalled she would be looking at adding jobs like waiters, secretaries, landscapers and caregivers to the work permit restricted list.
Landscaping posts are already the subject of a moratorium introduced last year.
Ms Minors said: “Employers will first have to demonstrate that they have hired a certain percentage of Bermudians including trainees before a work permit is considered.”
Ms Minors said: “This is a bold step, but something which must be considered if we want to see an improvement in our employment figures.
“We need a willingness by hotels to take these individuals on board and train them in that particular job which may be available.”
She added that she had also written to the Bermuda Hotels’ Association to ask members to confirm that they are prepared to hire Bermudians – whether trained or untrained – before any work permits are issued.
Ms Minors, backed by Premier Paula Cox, said the latest move to boost employment prospects for Bermudians was one of several in the works designed, in tandem with initiatives aimed at making the island more attractive to international business.
Ms Minors added that it was hoped that a new one-stop career centre aimed at matching Bermudians to available jobs would be in its own office by spring.
She said” “This will bring a wealth of benefits in helping individuals chart their course and get their skill sets in place.”
Ms Minors added that more than 50 people had been accepted on to a waiter training programme and that all would be employed in the restaurant and hotel sectors.
And she said that the hospitality industry was committed to filling more than 600 positions with Bermudians who applied for work through a jobs fair last year.
A new jobs hotline is also to be established by the Labour and Training Department for people looking for work.
Ms Cox added that “a major private sector inititative” was in the pipeline and that the developers were “bullish” about pushing ahead, which would create more employment opportunities.
She added that Government would also look at the number of positions available to Bermudians when companies put in bids for contracts.
Ms Cox said: “It’s not about favouritism or jobs for the boys – it’s about operating in a framework of good governance, transparency and access to jobs for Bermudians.
“The price for the prize is providing legitimate development and training and entry level, intermediate and senior jobs for Bermudians.”
Ms Minors added that 10-year work permits for overseas business chiefs had been introduced, while Ms Cox had unveiled further measures aimed at making Bermuda attractive to foreign-owned enterprise earlier this week.