By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THREE applications have been approved thus far under the Commercial Enterprises Bill, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Brent Symonette, minister of financial services, trade and industry and Immigration, told the House of Assembly yesterday: “So far there have been three applications that have been approved under that Bill for commercial enterprises.
“The Bill is working. One is for computer programming and software design, one is to deal with the whole question of trading with international companies, and the other is a data and analytics and machine intelligence company. Those were approved several weeks ago, coming directly out of the Commercial Enterprises Bill.”
The Commercial Enterprises Act, officially known as the Act for the Designation of Specified Commercial Enterprises and Specified Economic Zones in the Bahamas, “seeks to liberalise the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in the Bahamas, and requires work permits for its management team and key personnel”. The company’s investment, however, must be a minimum of $250,000.
The legislation enables a ‘specified commercial enterprise’ to obtain an Investments Board certificate granting it a specific number of work permits for certain positions.
The certificate, which will initially be issued for one year and can be renewed, would allow key personnel to set up the company’s physical operations in the Bahamas before they obtain a work permit.
Such a permit must be applied for within 30 days of their entry, and the Act mandates the Director of Immigration to make a decision on approval within 14 days of receiving the application.
If the director does not respond within that timeframe, the work permit will be “automatically deemed to have been granted”. Work permits issued under the Bill’s provisions will be for a three-year period, and are renewable for the same duration.