For all those seeking employment in Bermuda, it is important to know that work visas are not issued by the Bermuda Government. Instead a work permit is issued to the employer who is registered and approved by the Bermuda government. The work permits are issued for a maximum period of 6 years with the rights reserved with the Government to revoke or reduce the duration of the permits whenever they feel necessary to do so.
If you are not a Bermudian and seek employment in Bermuda then the first thing you have to do is to look for a prospective employer who is based in Bermuda. If you are offered employment by the Bermudian employer then the employer has to obtain the work permit. The onus of obtaining the work permit is on the employer and not the prospective employee. All the procedure is done at the cost of the employer only.
Different types of work permits are issued depending upon the duration and the type of the work in Bermuda.
Requirements for obtaining a work permit
It’s mandatory that only the employer can apply for the work permit. The onus of obtaining the work permit is on the employer and not the prospective employee. The employee can enter the land only if he receives the permission from the government. Moreover, when a person visits the country as a tourist, he/she cannot seek any kind of employment.
Before granting permission to a person to work in Bermuda, the government assesses whether there is a qualified Bermudian for the job or whether the spouse of a Bermudian is qualified or a permanent Resident certificate holder is qualified. If any of the above is qualified and interested for the job then they are preferred first.
The employer seeking work permit is expected to conduct genuine search procedure like advertising the vacancies in the newspapers and on the website www.bermudajobboard.com. If qualified Bermudians or the spouse of a Bermudian or a PRC holder is available then the employer has to consider them as the initial choice before hiring a foreign national.
If at all the employer prefers to employ a foreign national for the job when qualified Bermudians, Spouses of the Bermudians or PRC holders are available for the job then the employer has to give valid and satisfactory reasons as to why he is not employing a Bermudian or the spouse of a Bermudian or a PRC holder for the job.
The employer who seeks work permit for a foreign national is solely responsible for all the details that are filled in the application. According to Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (No.2) Act, 2013, this responsibility cannot be delegated to anyone else by the employer.
It is the responsibility of the employer to inform all the unsuccessful Bermudian candidates, PRCs and the spouses of the Bermudians about the result of their applications prior to the submission of the applications for the work permit, to the Immigration Department.
Employers are required to provide evidences to the Department of Immigration that notifications have been given to the unsuccessful candidates who applied for the job. An email or a letter may be sufficient for this.The notification to the unsuccessful candidate should specify the reasons for his/her non-selection for the job. This information is necessary for obtaining the work permit according to Recruitment Disclosure section.
The Department of Immigration scrutinises all the applications for work permit thoroughly. Even though the Department does not have the right to force any employer to employ a Bermudian or a spouse of a Bermudian or a PRC holder, it can prevent the employment of a foreign national by refusing toprovide the work permit.
Work permit holder’s responsibilities
The work permit holder has to abide by all the conditions placed in the work permit. All the job responsibilities as given in the job description have to be adhered. The general information given at the back of the work permit has to be taken note of.
If permit holder has the responsibility of repatriating his/her dependants then the permit holder must honour the commitment and ensure that when he/she departs from the country of Bermuda they also depart along with the permit holder unless they got the permission for residing in the country and seek employment.
Should be proficient in English
The persons who seek employment in Bermuda in the construction industry or under the Portuguese Accord are required to possess working knowledge in English.
If the Minister of Immigration feels that permit holder is not good in English or the language skills then he/she will not be allowed to work in the construction industry. This is done to comply with the health and safety standards prevailing in the country. If the permit holder is questionable in English language then he/she shall be landed for a period of 7 days and may have to undergo testing by the Immigration Department, passing which he/she shall be retained in Bermuda or else will be ordered to the leave the country.
Work Permit Card
Work permit cards are issued to the applicants for global, standard and new business, for periodic work permit holders and their dependants who are sponsored. This permit card is to enable the employees and their dependants to travel to and from the country.
The employer has to submit an application complete in all respects with the required documents and the fee for the application and the work permit card.
In the following cases, new work permit cards are issued:
- If the card is stolen, lost or damaged
- If there is a change in the name of the employer (on account of merger, when a person works under a new employer, the current permit card should be retained and it should be changed on its expiry)
- When the card has expired
- If the name of the card holder changes
If the permit holders are already staying in Bermuda along with their sponsored dependants then a requisition letter for the issue of work permit cards for all the persons who seek the permit cards along with a fee of $151.00 should be submitted by the employer.