Gifts of gratitude

Kevin Comeau's OpEd in today's Gazette (unfortunately buried deep down on the opinion section of rg.bm) is a must read on the issue of smart immigration policy for job creators. The core problem with this new policy is that the offer is of no real value and the price tag is an insult not an invitation:

Government thought that by offering CEOs and other top job creators the opportunity to obtain Permanent Residency, these executives would be persuaded to remain in Bermuda. What Government failed to recognise was that effectively each of these top executives can already work and stay in Bermuda as long as they like we'd be crazy not to renew their work permits, and they know it. So in effect they are receiving very little when they obtain Permanent Residency.

More importantly, the offer of Permanent Residency at a price tag of $120,000 risks turning a gesture of inclusion into an insult. From the executive's point of view, the Government is saying that we want you to live in Bermuda and create lots of jobs for us, but we don't want you to be one of us. Instead, we will offer you and your family the right to become second class non-citizens for which we will charge you $120,000.

I've heard this sentiment directly from people who would be the targets of this new legislation.

The policy was created from a defensive stance, trying to give away as little as possible. The end result of long discussions between the private sector and government was a policy so narrowly targeted that it applies to almost no-one, and in reality offers nothing that they don't already have.

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