The Ministry of Home Affairs announced today that the policy proposal that would remove under 19 year-old dependents of work permit holders from work permit control making them eligible for summer employment will not likely form part of the 2013 Work Permit Policies to be implemented in the Spring.

This decision is likely to be taken based on the significant preliminary public feedback which has been received since the release of the proposed amendments to the Work Permit Policies.

The Ministry reminds the public that the draft Work Permit Policies document represents the collective views of the Work Permit Stakeholder Group, a group that commenced a work permit review under the former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Patrice Minors. The Ministry awaits the final feedback from the various Work Permit Stakeholder Group organisations before confirming its final position.

A Ministry spokesperson said today, “The Ministry takes this opportunity to thank the public for their robust feedback. It should be noted that the proposal evolved from the original Terms of Reference wherein the team had given consideration to ‘Embracing work permit holders and their families/dependents as a part of the Bermuda community in whole not in part’.

“Stakeholders have long argued that one of the reasons senior executives who had been in Bermuda for extended periods were moving to other jurisdictions – ultimately reducing the number of Bermudian jobs in the process – was because of the quality of life for their children who were now teenagers. These young people, like our young people, were too young to spend summers overseas on their own, and regarded themselves as too old for summer day camp. But they were old enough to find a summer job in Bermuda.”

The spokesperson continued, “The Ministry accepts the views that the perceived impact that this change in policy might have is the reduction of available job opportunities for Bermuda’s youth at a time when summer employment is scarce. As result the Ministry is content that the other significant proposed policy amendments may be sufficient to address stakeholder concerns with respect to the more pertinent business development and job retention issues facing our economy.

“The Ministry is also content that the quality of life issue as it relates to the dependents of work permit holders can be set aside and revisited at a later date once the economy has improved.”

Again, it is important to remind the public that former Minister Minors invited a wide cross section of representatives to collaborate on the policy review. And the Minister, Sen. the Hon. Michael Fahy, JP, supported their continued participation after assuming responsibility for Immigration in December.

The Work Permit Stakeholder Group includes:

• Chris Furbert representing the Bermuda Trade Union Congress

• Anthony Wolffe representing the Bermuda Trade Union Congress

• Kellianne Smith representing the Bermuda Hotel Association  

• Charles Dunstan representing the Construction Association of Bermuda

• Joanne MacPhee representing the Chamber of Commerce

• Keith Jensen representing the Bermuda Employers Council

• Doug Soares representing the Bermuda Human Resources Association

• Richard Winchell representing the Association of Bermuda International Companies

• Leila Maderios representing the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers

• Dr. Danette Ming, Chief Immigration Officer; and

• Cherie Whitter, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs

Ultimately, the goal of the 2013 Work Permit Policies is to ensure a balance that does not disadvantage Bermudians, but instead provide support to ensure a beneficial, profitable, business sector in an effort to grow the economy – and as a consequence add new jobs.