Interminable limits

A reader, and local business owner, writes in on the mechanics of the term limit exemption process:

In a letter dated 10 February 06 the Department of Immigration contacted all companies that have been issued work permits seeking to clarify policy W8 of the Ministry of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety with regard to Measures to Inhibit Long-Term Residency. At that time employers were invited to submit applications seeking exemption from the six year term limit for any “key employee” per criteria as set out in Appendix C (of the same letter) which detailed those positions and job categories that were eligible for a waiver of term limits.

To date and to the best of my knowledge government has still not finalised their response as evidenced by the absence of any correspondence from the Department of Immigration regarding this matter. As an employer who has submitted an application for one of our “key positions” together with a half dozen more for a number of our clients, I’m cautiously optimistic that we may actually hear something soon, maybe in time for Christmas.

What I find so annoying regarding the foregoing, however, isn’t so much the waiting game (which we are unfortunately so used to by now from a government department which clearly does not attempt to balance the interests of business owners and taxpayers (especially Bermudian ones!) with those of the community) but the recent remarks made by various PLP spokespersons who attempt to reprimand the local and international business community for not properly anticipating or planning for this term limit issue. If anyone is to be blamed for this debacle it is, without a doubt, the illogical, inefficient and growing behemoth of bureaucracy that has enveloped our government and civil service over the last +8 years.

Given the foregoing, however, I was surprised to learn (through a second hand source, mind you) that one of the largest (non-Bermudian owned) local employers of many work permit holders has in fact already received a written reply from the Department of Immigration confirming key employee status. What gives? Why are many locally owned and operated organistions still waiting to hear from government regarding the status of our applications? Is it because we can’t afford a seat at the PLP gala next year? Or perhaps we don’t have relatives in the right places?

I'm hearing more and more of this complaint from smaller and local businesses that they are treated like second class citizens when it comes to immigration policies.

The big international companies will feel the love, and get their exemptions, while the local companies fear they'll be used as the poster children for term limits.

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