When qualified Bermudians are overlooked

In theory, qualified Bermudians and spouses of Bermudians are to be considered first when it comes to job applications.  In practice, this doesn’t always happen.  The recently introduced job board is supposed to improve the process but seems to only be used as evidence for the basis of a formal complaint.  The trouble with filing a complaint is that Bermuda is too small and it won’t necessarily yield the best results for an individual.  Sadly the immigration process penalizes good companies with bureaucracy and isn’t terribly effective at penalizing bad companies who discriminate against qualified locals.  Is it any wonder that many Bermudians still feel disadvantaged?

Honourable companies looking to comply with immigration policies face daunting hurdles.  They must document every applicant and what stages of the process they made it to, regardless of whether those applicants were even remotely qualified for the role.  It is a large burden for companies who face a growing number of desperate Bermudians who adopt the “apply for everything” route to finding a job.

Dishonourable companies flout the process and look for means to intentionally avoid hiring individuals who are actually qualified.  They tailor or inflate job descriptions to match a pre selected candidate.  They create extravagant and unrealistic interview requirements.  Or, they simply ignore a candidate’s submission.  Don’t be fooled into thinking only international business companies do it, local companies do it too.

The paths available to a qualified candidate are to apply via all possible avenues and then submit a formal complaint.  The introduction of the Bermuda Job Board allows a candidate to apply for a job directly via the Department of Workforce Development.  One would think that this would ensure candidates are not overlooked or ignored but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Applying via the job board provides documented evidence that you’ve applied, but it doesn’t seem to be checked during the approval process to ensure a candidate was considered prior to granting a work permit.

The only recourse for an individual who feels they’ve been overlooked is to file a formal complaint with immigration.  The problem though is that it can be fairly easy to be identified regardless of whether the complaint is submitted anonymously and it can be uncertain what the repercussions could be.  What protections does an individual really have against future discrimination?  Does it result in the individual getting what they are truly seeking – a fair chance at a job?  Would someone even want to work for a company that is so intent on not hiring Bermudians?

We may think that qualified locals are considered first before foreigners but that isn’t how immigration really works.  It is a shame that good companies are burdened with a great deal of paperwork while bad companies are free to flout the system.  Sure one could file a complaint, but what of the personal risks involved in doing so?  The immigration process doesn’t seem to work the way it should. Given the prospect of being qualified but overlooked it is sadly no wonder that more and more Bermudians are choosing to leave the island in search of opportunity elsewhere.

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