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One Year Deadline To Hand Over Foreign Jobs

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday said for every foreigner given a work permit under the Commercial Enterprises Bill, a Bahamian must be trained for that position within a year.

Appearing as a guest on ‘The Revolution’ with Juan McCartney, Mr Bethel said despite the “noise in the market” the CEB will guarantee jobs for Bahamians.

The bill would allow foreigners or Bahamians to receive “economic concessions” if they establish specified types of businesses in the Bahamas with an investment of no less than $250,000. Such businesses would be entitled to a specified number of work permits for executives, managers and people with “specialised knowledge”.

“A Commercial Enterprise Facilitation Unit is mandated to be established within the Investment Board to make sure applications are addressed in a timely manner,” Mr Bethel said yesterday. “It is absolutely required that every application for a commercial enterprise certificate has to be accompanied by a business plan which indicates specifically, meaning name and position, of its staffing needs, inclusive of the number of work permits that are needed.

“So as such, training and building opportunities may be agreed to be afforded to Bahamians in respect to that position staffed by work permit holders. So, it does guarantee Bahamians jobs in respect to positions, staff, by work permit holders. That means for every work permit holder, you have to have at least one Bahamian in training for that position. The jobs for Bahamians must be in respect of positions staffed by work permit holders. The agreement follows the intention of the law that Bahamians be trained in those positions being staffed initially by work permit holders.... They have one year. The commercial enterprise certificate is for one year and if at the end of the year, they have not complied with the contract, (the) certificate will be revoked.”

On Monday, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham criticised the controversial bill, saying the Minnis administration should “rethink the bill and make necessary adjustments.”

His criticism during a rare interview with The Tribune came less than a week after the bill passed the House of Assembly with the unanimous support of Free National Movement parliamentarians.

Almost none of the bill’s key provisions were spared Mr Ingraham’s harsh assessment. The bill’s $250,000 threshold “is too low,” he said.

The bill’s lack of guarantee that a certain number or percentage of Bahamians be employed as a tradeoff for work permits is, he said, something he could not support.

The Progressive Liberal Party has also pledged to repeal the CEB when the party returns to power and warned investors and people who may accept the bill’s benefits to “think carefully” before doing so.

Comments

HonestTruth 1 week, 3 days ago

This is the type of progressive legislation that I enjoy hearing about. It appears with this bill we will have an opportunity to grow different industries in The Bahamas, while also having the opportunity to have Bahamians occupy these positions while obtaining a job.

Keep up the good work guys

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rqd2 1 week, 3 days ago

Help me understand. For example, if a foreigner meets the minimum investment and starts a business, they have one year to train a Bahamian for each position in the new company.

Where does it say the Bahamian must then be hired for the position or even paid during the training period?

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jujutreeclub 1 week, 3 days ago

The person who will be trained will already be hired by the company, therefore no need for having to hire him/her after the year. They will already be a part of the company.

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DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

Sounds good, but perhaps a bit too constrictive for the potential investor? Can anyone out there post a link for a copy of the Bill please?

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banker 1 week, 3 days ago

This is bullshit. If someone starts a business here -- a tech business -- he must train a Bahamian to take over? What if the business requires a tertiary education for which there is no qualified Bahamian? This is insuring that the bill will be a flop. This is no way to create a knowledge industry. The business must be unfettered and allowed to grow. Some businesses take a few years to get traction. Once again, a typically bungled endeavour.

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bahamalove 1 week, 2 days ago

Exactly! Why would a foreigner even want to invest here if they know that they have only a year to train a Bahamian to do their job and then they have to possibly leave afterwards? And saying that Freeport could be a Silicon Valley is a far stretch. Electricity, living and business costs are too high, and Freeport is prone to hurricanes which is very disruptive to businesses.

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 2 days ago

When there are other countries that seek only injection of capital. Why would they invest in a place where they are forced to hire an understudy for every position, even before the business gets profitable or gains any traction?

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Islangal1 4 days, 22 hours ago

It's just pure B$!! The government is going down a slippery slope FAST, like y'all indicated NO company will invest in a country where they will be forced to hire its citizen before the business becomes profitable. Nor will they hire Bahamians who are NOT qualified, how can you train a person in 1 year, you can only do that in the service industries, you cannot do it in tech, pharmaceutical or any technical field unless that person already has a degree or specialized training in the area. Seriously now? Would Apple or Microsoft open shop in a place where there is no diversity in the workplace with 90% staffed locals and have 1 yr to train Bahamians to work in their company with no guarantee of residency?

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seamphony 1 week, 3 days ago

i am all for any bill that puts some fresh blood into this economy but this sort of populist talk is so laughable! ok dude you have 12 months to learn heart surgery, make tacos, and manage an eastern european portfolio.

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ohdrap4 1 week, 2 days ago

12 months to learn heart surgery

AHa, by next May, Dr. sands will have produced his understudies and be relieved of those surgeries at the rand memorial.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

I know a story of an expat who was here on a permit for 14 years, he never attempted to train anyone and he hid the documentation.

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ohdrap4 1 week, 2 days ago

and then he left, because there is in fact an upper limit of years on work permit which is 14 years.

but, when training does occur, the bahamian is paid much less, because he is trainee. After the first or second year, with some more experience and training, the bahamian leaves for a better paying job, as his wage will never match that of the expat.

now when the permit renewal application goes in, a trainee is listed, not just the same one.

I do not think immigration ever checks to see if the trainees are the same.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

Hehe, can't go into it but that's not why he left. Lol.

On a good day with regular people you have issues with people sharing information. In general people are territorial about knowledge in the workplace, they simply will not share the simplest of details if it does not benefit them "directly" to do so. This bill will not promote training because it's intention is not training. It's just a selling point for a shady bill..can't believe they actually pulled out the "unemployed single mothers card"

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

Comrades! Should the red shirts as a party who campaigned on full and open transparency, their MP's and senators be required to publicly disclose any and all business or financial arrangements details they - including family members -, currently have or have previously had with any Expat over the current and previous 5 year period? This should also apply to fees collected by lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc.

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John2 1 week, 2 days ago

The one year learning curve is too steep. Some employees may be very tech savy with all the latest certifications in their areas of specialization but in the real world where technological changes happen rapidly, and changes to software updates,dealing with the implementation and maintaining of security issues, configuration changes,working with nano technologies and emerging trends, and other areas proposed in this bill requires a much longer learning curve deadline for knowledge transfer.!.

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bahamalove 1 week, 2 days ago

With all the proposed corporate tax breaks and incentives the Trump Administration is planning to offer to businesses to bring their jobs and money back to the US, it is going to take a Herculean effort for the Bahamas to attract US foreign investment. That $250,000 threshold for attracting investment to the Bahamas may be a double-edged sword. The low amount is needed to actually attract interest here but on the other hand it has the potential to bring all types of shady characters with ulterior motives to our shores.

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islandlad 1 week, 2 days ago

I agree with some of the other comments about why train a Bahamain to take over your job. Incorporate the Bahamian into the company yes, but please in many cases where expats in senior levels come to the Bahamas either to work for an established company or start a new one, many take many many years, a decade or a lifetime to acquire the skills and experience, seriously, train somebody in a year.........????

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TalRussell 1 week, 2 days ago

Comrades! If you have an ounce respect your native country man's and country woman's which obviously is missing from the mindset of the governing red shirts, you have speak out against the automatic approval of Expat's work permits if not approved within 14 days of submission. So, what stops the Expat's filling out the work permit application to import even more Expats - from providing the immigration department with just enough insufficient info to guarantee the application would never be approved within the 14 day time frame the immigration can holdup the work permit application.
This Commercial Enterprises Bill s as it is, or even if amended 20 more times is equally donkey-minded as Minnis's. KP's and Carl Wilshire's stupid governing ways are turning out be.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 2 days ago

If I was going to invest tens of millions in a foreign country ......... and I was told that I cannot hire who I want to manage my investment ....... I won't invest in that country at all .............. Find some other way to incentivize local hirings by FDI companies (like tax rates per % of local mgmt vs line staff hires).

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killemwitdakno 6 days, 20 hours ago

What company is going to bring staff in for only a yr?

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12345 6 days, 16 hours ago

As Carl Bethel is a lawyer, and the AG no less, will he kindly point us to where these things are stated in the Bill? This is not a good time to be misleading the Bahamian people.

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