Term limits are anti-Bermudian

There’s something people don’t seem to understand when it comes to the case of the spray painter who’d been here for nearly 20 years.  This spray painter was required at least every 3 years to submit a work permit application.  That means every 3 years the immigration department should have confirmed

  • That his employer was creating opportunities for Bermudians where able
  • That this employee was training Bermudians where able
  • That there were no suitably qualified Bermudians to take his role

That means this process should have been done each of the 6 or so times this man requested a work permit renewal.  Either this was done and it was shown that this expat and his employer were positively contributing to Bermuda or this was not done and the immigration process is broken and flawed.

Vice President of the Bermuda Public Service Union Jason Hayward suggests that term limits are “pro-people and pro-Bermudian”.  Mr. Hayward suggests:

Government’s current work permit policy provides assurance to young Bermudians that job opportunities may open up in their required field of study. While term limits were designed to prevent large numbers of non-Bermudians becoming long term residents, I believe they also encourage employers to hire Bermudians.

Here’s the issue.  If the immigration department was doing its job properly then they were assuring that this painter was training young Bermudians where able.  The fact that he kept having his work permit renewed suggests that this man was training Bermudians and there were more painting jobs available than there were trained Bermudians to fill them.  Thus, this man was providing a valued service to Bermuda by continuing to train Bermudians for a needed job role.

Mr. Hayward suggests

“the real loser in this story is the young Bermudian who was never trained to take this man’s position after his first five years on the Island.”

Actually, the real losers in this story are those Bermudians who likely now won’t be trained because we kicked this expat off the island.  Further losers are the Bermudians who won’t be trained by other good expats who now won’t stick around to train Bermudians for fear of being thanklessly kicked to the kerb on a months notice.

Term limits haven’t solved anything in this scenario.  Assuming the immigration department was doing it’s job then it should have been clearly demonstrated at each renewal that this man was positively contributing to the advancement of Bermuda and Bermudians.  If he was not, either he should not have had his work permit renewed some time ago or the immigration department is failing in it’s responsibilities.

If the immigration department is operating properly, term limits are nothing but a short circuit which serves to forcibly remove positive contributors from our society when we should instead be offering them permanent residency.  If the immigration department isn’t operating properly, then term limits are a band aid fix hiding much larger systemic problems.