The Commercial Immigration (CI) survey launched by Minister Fahy serves only one purpose — to create an illusion of support for their proposal to sell the right to work, own property and vote in Bermuda to any foreign national with a cheque book.

While the PLP supports seeking public collaboration, it is important to establish the quality of the data that will result from this survey. A survey is statistically useless unless the data collected is accurate and representative of the population. 

Self-administered surveys such as this online CI survey come with major disadvantages:   

• Typically have low response rate — the smaller the sample size, the larger the margin of error; 

• Tend to have respondent biases as generally only persons with a strong opinion will complete the survey;

• Difficult to put controls in place to ensure that respondents complete the survey honestly.

Coupled with the standard disadvantages of self-administered surveys, there are additional concerns about this particular survey including:

• No restrictions to prevent a person from completing survey multiple times from different IP addresses; 

• Quality of data is dependent on the respondent understanding the complexities of CI.  If there is some confusion about the meaning of a question, there is no opportunity to seek clarification and this increases the respondent error rate; 

• Non-Bermudians are able to take the survey including; work permit holders, spouses of Bermudians, PRCs and two types of visitors (long-term visitor and regular).  Should non-Bermudians have a say in deciding the right to sell status?

• Due to the vagueness of how CI has been defined by OBA, answering many of these questions are difficult to do accurately;

• Options that include granting status without a residency requirement is not possible due to pre-existing UK regulations; 

• No options to disagree on some questions. For example, if respondent does not agree with CI in Q1, one still has to fill out follow-up questions.

No trust

What is to prevent the OBA from using statistically flawed data to justify selling of status?

Bermudians need to ask themselves how honest is the OBA? 

The CI public meeting held on January 14 clearly showed that most Bermudians were opposed to the proposal. In fact, the independent migration expert facilitating the meeting outlined more negatives than positives. The level of mistrust increased when Minister Fahy refused to answer any questions posed by the audience regarding the specific details e.g. how many statuses are we prepared to sell?

As we already have many forms of CI in place, what more is it the OBA wishes to give away? And WHY?

Commercial immigration will have long-term implications including negative shifts in:

• voting patterns;

• job opportunities for Bermudians;

• spiraling property costs.

Before considering any immigration reform, the PLP believes that the country must set a clear, long-term plan for immigration. In order to create a balanced workforce, we must take a sustainability approach to immigration and first establish what our ideal population number should be. We must learn from the mistakes of our past.  

In an effort to educate Bermudians on this issue as well as to gather meaningful feedback, we will be holding a series of town hall meetings. Feel free to contact us with your concerns on this and any other issue.  

E-mail: info@plp.bm

Walter Roban, MP, is Shadow Home Affairs Minister