Labour, Employment & Immigration law

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
The Supreme Court of Bermuda handed down its judgment in the matter of The Minister for Home Affairs v Carne and Correia [2014] SC (Bda) 9 Civ (2 May 2014) (510 KB PDF) on 2 May 2014. The fundamental result of this judgment is that under certain circumstances, holders of Permanent Resident Certificates (“PRC”) who have been resident in Bermuda prior to July 1989 can now apply for Bermudian Status — an application which Chief Justice Kawaley described as “one of the most significant applications that it is possible for an applicant to make” pursuant to the “beauty in the sleeping provisions” of Section 20B of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“BIPA”).

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
The Incentives for Job Makers Act 2013 and the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (No.2) Act 2013 came into operation in December 2013. These two acts effectively introduce various changes to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“BIPA”) and the Economic Development Act 1968 (“EDA”) which seek to make it easier for companies to obtain work permit exemptions for certain senior executives and for certain senior executives to be eligible to apply for a Permanent Resident’s Certificate (PRC).

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
There have been a number of developments in immigration laws and policies this year which have and will impact international and local businesses in Bermuda. The Incentives for Job Makers Act 2011(59 KB PDF) came into force in 2012 which introduced changes to the Economic Development Act 1968 (“the EDA Act”) and the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“the Immigration Act”). Essentially, under these amendments, a qualifying company is able to apply for section 3(B)(2) designation under the EDA Act. If granted such designation, the company is able to make application(s) under section 5 of the EDA Act whereby senior executives can obtain exemptions from work permit requirements as set out in the Immigration Act. Thereafter, if various requirements and qualifications are met by the company and senior executive, the senior executive can apply for a permanent residency certificate under the Immigration Act.

Jennifer Haworth
In March 2013, the Chief Justice issued a decision in the case of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Ltd v Minister of Economy Trade & Industry and the Bermuda Industrial Union [2013] Bda LR 19 (381 KB PDF). Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Ltd. (“KFC”) sought judicial review of the Minister of Economy Trade & Industry’s (the “Minister”) decision to refer KFC’s dispute with the Bermuda Industrial Union (“BIU”) to binding adjudication under the Trade Disputes Act 1992 (the “Act”). The Chief Justice refused KFC’s application citing the Court’s limited ability to review such references and only in “extreme cases”.

Jennifer Haworth
If you are a business owner, you will no doubt be focused largely on your target customers and how best to market and sell your products or services to them, while keeping costs at a minimum, especially in this economic climate. An important piece of advice we give is not to cut corners when it comes to your employees. Well drafted contracts of employment and employee handbooks are critical in safeguarding your business. Money set aside for legal services in this area will be well spent, especially if an issue or dispute arises. In our experience, one of the biggest concerns, especially with small businesses, can be the lack of a written employment contract. This presents difficulty to employers on two levels. First, it is a violation of the Employment Act 2000 (the “Act”) (130 KB PDF) which requires all employers to provide their employees with a Statement of Employment. Second, in the event of a dispute, the lack of clear, written terms leads to “he said, she said” situations, making it more difficult to prove matters one way or the other.

Honor Desmond-Tetlow
“Remember to take your SCARF into negotiations” may seem like odd advice. It isn’t. SCARF, an acronym for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness, should not be overlooked and should be taken into account when entering into negotiations. Briefly:
  • “Status” refers to the need to be respected and treated as an equal;
  • “Certainty” to the need for some predictability and security;
  • “Autonomy” the sense of having choices and some control;
  • “Relatedness” the need for collegiality and a sense of belonging/trust; and
  • “Fairness” is a justice/rule driven priority.

Jennifer Haworth
Bermuda’s new One Bermuda Alliance Government has scrapped the “Measures to Inhibit Long-Term Residency” policy, more commonly known as the term limit policy, and undertaken a review of the Islands’ work permit policy, all with a view to encouraging economic growth and job opportunities for Bermudians. The initial announcement came on 30 January 2013 from Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy who called the term limit policy a “barrier to job creation”. Government has also sought to reassure Bermudians that doing away with term limits will not negatively impact their job opportunities given that the work permit policy remains in place. Bermuda’s work permit policy requires that when the renewal of a guest worker’s permit is sought, the position must be advertised giving qualified Bermudians an opportunity to apply. In addition, Government indicated that it sought legal advice to reaffirm advice already received by the previous Progressive Labour Party Government which confirmed that the term limit policy is not necessary to prevent long term residency.