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Health Insurance And Proof Of Housing May Be Needed For Work Permit Approval

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH insurance and proof of adequate housing could be mandatory requirements for employers seeking permits for foreign labourers, Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell revealed yesterday.

Mr Mitchell said officials were giving serious consideration to including these two caveats as the government works to “tighten” a new immigration policy that was introduced on November 1.

He explained that the new policy was a “work in progress” during a guest appearance on radio talk show Let’s Talk Live with host Carlton Smith.

“Here is the direction we’re going in, this is the next stage,” he said. “In future, it seems to me that each employer who brings in someone who is a non-national will have to be able to provide evidence of two things.

“First, adequate housing for the individual, and secondly, health insurance, so that that person is never a charge on the public health care facilities, irrespective of the category of work.”

Mr Mitchell added: “So if you bring a labourer in here because you say you need a gardener, or live-in maid, or caregiver, you have to provide two things: housing and health insurance.”

The new policy mandates that persons who are applying for a work permit for the first time without legal status will need to be certified by a local embassy or nearest Bahamas mission in their home country. Certificates of identity previously issued to persons born to foreign parents legally residing in the Bahamas will not be renewed; instead a passport of their nationality with a resident stamp will be required.

Legislation drafted to support the new immigration policy is expected to be tabled next year.

The new legislation will reinstate the Belonger’s permit, an identification card for two categories of people: persons born to non-Bahamian parents, and children of Bahamians who are unable to automatically pass on their citizenship.

Yesterday, Mr Mitchell also suggested that there needed to be “signature” prosecutions of landowners that charge rent for shantytowns on their property.

He also called for public officials and wider society to demonstrate a level of discipline and consistency on the issue.

Comments

ohdrap4 5 years, 9 months ago

a columnist in the punch a couple of weeks ago posited that the raids are necessary to make way in the hospital for bahamians once mandatory national health is introduced.

as a worker for a private employer and being under 60, i pay for the prescription drug plan for years and have never been able to use it.

if i pay for this national health insurance, it better be immediate benefit.

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Arrow 5 years, 9 months ago

Minister Mitchell excellent job with immigration issues. Your party will be beaten in the next election but you are doing and excellent job! Please leave things in place so that whoever is your successor will also continue to do a good job. Now if minister of Education can learn form this maybe we can move forward.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 9 months ago

Was speaking to a friend about Minister Mitchell with the opinion that he would have been the perfect man for Prime Minister,he understands the system he is intelligent, he is not afraid to act. But alas this bitter character of his... If he could lose that need to hit out. (caveat, if he's corrupt, forget it..)

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