Residents are being "hugely inconvenienced" by Government changing visa requirements "without really telling anyone".

Nationals from more than 80 countries now require Bermuda entry visas.

Places affected include South Africa, India, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and China.

The new visa controlled nationals list, which came into effect on May 1, replaced the list issued in September 2004.

Immigration Minister Colonel David Burch last month publicly announced new visa requirements for visitors from the Dominican Republic, Panama and the Philippines.

The move is part of a crackdown on sham marriages.

But visa restrictions have also been applied to a host of other countries - and the public claims they have not been warned.

Friends and relatives of many expatriates living in Bermuda have had to rush around at the last minute because they "had no idea" about the new visa requirements.

Some have even postponed their visits to Bermuda. Many people from the newly listed countries have said it is unbelievable that "such a change can be made without informing the public".

They blasted it as "utmost stupidity" and "crazy times". The news has slowly spread through the expatriate community but those already affected want everyone to be "properly informed of what is going on".

Government insists its website has been updated with the new list of visa controlled nationals since the second week of April.

But residents complain that because their country of residence never had a visa requirement before, they did not think to go to the website to look.

They say their inconvenience was made even worse because the British Embassy did not even know about the new visa laws.

People have said they have been turned away from the Embassy, having been told they do not need visas.

Permits

Residents have complained that "no one seems to know what is going on, it's chaos".

Visa controlled nationals on the island must now take the original copies of their work permits to Immigration in order to get them amended.

This is free before May 28 or $29 after.

Residents currently off-island who left after May 1 should contact Immigration to inform them they are currently away and to ensure there are no problems when they return.

Visitors must go to the British Consulate to get a visa before coming to the island.