Virginia, US

Feb 26 2015

New Work Permit Policies Bring Faster Processing and New Programs

Bermuda

Bermuda has adopted new work permit policies that will take effect March 1, 2015. Key changes include a more streamlined and faster work permit application process for long- and short-term work, new short-term work permit and investor programs and a work permit category for new businesses. 

Shorter Processing Times for Standard and Global Work Permit Programs 

The Standard Work Permit for long-term work is currently processed in eight to twelve weeks, but will be subject to adjudication guidelines of 21 business days. 

Global Work Permit holders should also see faster processing times. The program allows for intracompany transfers of senior personnel without the need for a labor market test. 

New Short-Term Work Program 

The three-month Temporary Permit will be replaced by the Short-Term Work Permit, which will have three-, four-, five- and six-month validity periods and will be processed within ten business days, as opposed to the previous 15 business days for the Temporary Permit. In-country extensions will not be available. 

Labor Market Testing Rule Changes 

Employers who offer Bermudians, their spouses and/or permanent residents training opportunities abroad for up to three years will be eligible for a waiver of the requirement to advertise vacancies as part of labor market testing. 

Advertising requirements for both the Short-Term and Standard Work Permits will expand to include a mandatory posting on the Bermuda Jobs Board for a minimum of eight consecutive days. Current requirements, which will remain in effect, include three advertisements in a local newspaper for at least eight consecutive days. 

Employers seeking to promote a foreign worker under a Global, New Business or Standard Work Permit must advertise the position internally before the promotion. This policy currently exists but will now be stated in the law. 

New Group of Business Visitors 

The new policy also allows a new group of foreign employees to perform business activities in Bermuda without obtaining work authorization.  This group includes certified equipment or software installers entering Bermuda to deploy or troubleshoot and/or enhance their products for a Bermuda company whose purchase agreement includes installation and maintenance. 

Clearer Maximum Stays for Periodic Work Permit Holders 

Periodic Work Permit holders will see clearer guidelines regarding maximum periods of stay. Periodic Work Permits will be granted for periods of one, two, three, four or five years, and will still allow multiple-entry stays up to 30 days per visit, with a cumulative maximum of 180 days per calendar year. This length of stay policy is currently in place, but is not explicitly stated in the law. 

Benefits for Dependents 

Same-sex partners and unmarried opposite-sex partners — not currently eligible to apply for dependent residence permits — are expected to become eligible for dependent status. 

Foreign nationals’ dependents will be able to apply for work authorization, provided that they have a job offer in place, and the principal work permit holder meets minimum annual income amounts of $60,000 for a two-person household; $100,000 for a three-person household; and $125,000 for a household of four or more. 

New Business Work Permit 

Certain companies that are new to Bermuda will be able to obtain work permits within the first six months of their New Business Work Permit without conducting a labor market test. 

New Business Work Permit holders may be employed in any non-restricted position as long as it is not entry-level, graduate-level or trainee-level. The permit will grant stays from one year up to five years. 

New Global Entrepreneur Program 

The policy will also introduce a one-year Global Entrepreneur permit for start-up activities, allowing investors to raise capital, seek government regulatory approval and conduct compliance-related activities. 

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals 

Foreign employees in Bermuda should benefit from the faster processing times and the new short-term work program. New businesses and investors in Bermuda should also benefit from the new programs designed specifically to encourage foreign investment. Interested foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional to discuss available options. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to lar@fragomen.com

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