Wayne Perinchief listens as Premier Paula Cox reveals new Work Permit rules at a Press Conference on Wednesday. *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Wayne Perinchief listens as Premier Paula Cox reveals new Work Permit rules at a Press Conference on Wednesday. *Photo by Raymond Hainey

WEDNESDAY JAN. 11: International businesses with as few as six employees will be eligible for work permit exemption for expat bosses, Premier Paula Cox revealed today.

Ms Cox unveiled the new rules designed to make Bermuda more attractive to overseas firms — and pledged that it was just one incentive in the pipeline aimed at pulling the island out of the recession.

Up to five work permit exemptions, costing $120,000 each, can be granted for firms employing 25 or more staff — with the possibility of Permanent Resident Certificates after 10 years on the island.

Ms Cox said: “Job creation has been an over-riding concern of the Government and is at the forefront of any legislation we table to encourage investment in Bermuda.

“This act represents the first step in our commitment to strike the right balance in providing an enabling environment for the private sector to create new jobs for Bermudians and maintain the existing ones.”

To be eligible for the exemptions, however, larger companies must prove that they employ Bermudians at all levels and offer entry-level positions to islanders.

They must also show they have programmes designed to develop Bermudian talent and comply with fair employment practices.

The exemptions will be granted on a sliding scale, with firms with up to six employees eligible for one exemption, with more being added as the number of employees rises.

Ms Cox said: “Part of a Government’s role, especially now, is to create a sense of hope and also to have a plan and to let people know we’re continuing to keep them in the picture.

“There should be no glass ceiling for Bermudians.”

Ms Cox, who is also Minister of Finance, was speaking as she announced the specific rules governing the granting of work permit exemptions.

She said: “The Government appreciates that in order to encourage job makers and future investors to commit to Bermuda in the long term we must give them the opportunity to consider Bermuda as their permanent home for themselves and their families.”

Spouses, and dependant children up to the age of 25 if they are students, will also be covered by the exemption.

Spouses can also look for a job without further permission, although any employer will still have to apply for a work permit on their behalf.

The new law came into effect in January, although length of residence can be backdated to January 1, 2005, with applications for PRCs open from the same date in 2015.