FRIDAY, MARCH 30: The moratorium preventing non-Bermudians from working as landscape gardeners has been lifted.

Economy Minister Patrice Minors made the announcement yesterday saying the policy change will apply to ‘renewal applications that have not reached term limit’.

The news was welcomed by landscaping gardening companies.

Bobby Baron, president of the Bermuda Landscapers Association (BLA), told the Sun: “The BLA is pleased and encouraged by the announcement made by Minister Minors in regards to the lifting of the moratorium on landscape gardeners.

“Since the forming of the BLA our member companies have given the opportunity to 155 Bermudians to try their hand at commercial landscaping.

“To date the BLA has enjoyed a productive relationship with the Immigration Ministry. The BLA member companies will continue to ensure that any Bermudian wanting to learn commercial landscaping will be given every opportunity for employment.

“We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with the Minister regarding our industry.”

In February 2011 the Ministry introduced a work permit moratorium for the categories of landscape gardeners, cleaners, kitchen and bar porters, housekeepers and skilled labourers.

A total of 157 jobs were created for Bermudians.

But landscaping firms formed their own association to safeguard their businesses, which they believed were under threat from the work permit moratorium.

Minister Minors said, “During the moratorium period, the Landscapers Association have been very active in advocating on behalf of the industry, working to establish training standards and proving to be a valuable stakeholder group, and we want to applaud their dedication and commitment.

“And in a show of good faith on the Ministry’s part, I intend to lift the moratorium on ‘renewal applications which have not reached term limit’ for the landscape gardener category.”

In return the Landscapers Association has agreed to work with the Department of Labour and Training to establish a summer training programme.

This will allow young persons from senior schools to be given the opportunity to work for pay with member companies of the Landscape Association.