Should the immigration process not apply equally to all non-Bermudians?

In one breath the “President of the BIU” talks of putting Bermudians first and in the next believes that it should be acceptable to flout the immigration process to benefit a non-Bermudian. There are many on this island, this writer included, who believe that the immigration process does not work as well as it should. There are cases where employers flout the rules of the immigration process to preference foreigners over qualified Bermudian applicants. It happens and it shouldn’t. Should the immigration process not apply equally to all non-Bermudians?

Bernews has a video up of “The President of the BIU” holding a press conference regarding Reverend Tweed’s work permit. In it he says:

“the application for Mr. Tweed’s work permit went in on the 18th of July which was the day before his work permit expired which was the 19th of July.”

What does the Immigration department’s website say regarding the dates of applying for a work permit renewal? (emphasis added)

Applications should be submitted no less than one month and no more than three months before the current work permit expires.

“The day before his work permit expired” is not within the clearly stated requirements. A qualified Bermudian should be given the opportunity to apply prior to the work permit extension is granted. If the application is submitted late, then the application should fall to the lowest priority behind all other applications submitted on time. During that time, the work permit holder shouldn’t be able to work due to the failure to apply within accordance of the requirements. It is understandable that Mr. Tweed has Bermudian heritage, however he is not Bermudian. Perhaps he should be offered a pathway to status given his heritage, but until that occurs he should not be entitled to special treatment.

At a minimum, the due process of our current system should be followed to confirm that no qualified Bermudian exists for the role. Too often it is not and it is to the detriment of Bermudians that the immigration process does not work as it should. The post should be advertised in The Royal Gazette and listed on the Bermuda Job board. Enough time should be allowed for a Bermudian to apply. If a qualified Bermudian applies, they should be interviewed. They should be given fair consideration and if not selected justifiable reasons why they were not selected for the role. The “President of the BIU” complains that nothing has changed and the approval should occur in a week or two. How does he know there is no qualified Bermudian that could want to apply for that job? That is the entire purpose of the renewal process.

The BIU is making a mockery of the immigration process. They are making a mockery of every qualified Bermudian, spouse of a Bermudian or PRC who has attempted to apply for a job only to get passed over or ignored in favor of a non-Bermudian. Anyone who is currently qualified but out of work and believes they have been passed over in favor of non-Bermudians should be offended, as should anyone who believes that that sort of situation should not happen.

“The President of the BIU” is making it abundantly clear that they are a political organization in the guise of a labour union. They only pay lip service to putting Bermudians first. The BIU says they represent Bermudians and speak on behalf of workers and yet they openly support flouting the immigration process when it suits their political aims.   If you are a Bermuda Industrial Union member is this truly what you stand for? Is this what you represent? Do you agree that the immigration process should not apply equally to all non-Bermudians? That qualified Bermudians should be given a fair chance to apply for roles held by non-Bermudians?

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