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Symonette: Act Will Boost Our Economy

Minister of Immigration and Financial Services Brent Symonette.

Minister of Immigration and Financial Services Brent Symonette.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION Minister Brent Symonette said yesterday amendments to the Immigration Act will not allow foreigners to compete with Bahamian businesses, but instead will add millions to the economy.

During debate of the amendments at Parliament, Mr Symonette said $430m in salaries could potentially be generated in The Bahamas with $16.5m added to the National Insurance Board.

The amendments will establish two separate visas – a BH1B visa for for a principle employee and a BH4S permit for spouses and dependents.

It ties into the Commercial Enterprises Act and applies to those specialty skill sets defined under that law.

It also allows for exemptions for short-term visas.

The bill was initially tabled on March 27.

“The idea here is this is to come in to meet with a local company and get back out,” Mr Symonette told the House of Assembly yesterday. “This is not meaning that a person can come in and do an audit for a company and go back out.”

He also said: “The intent is not giving competition or take away work from Bahamians.

“The officer at the airport will see the stamps in your passport and at that point will say work permit needed. While some may feel we are allowing people in the back door that is not what the bill does. The bill allows for denial of entry and prosecution.

“We have to find a way of developing The Bahamas and creating extra revenue.”

Mr Symonette further revealed to the House that as of September 2018, 78 percent of persons who applied for a work permit were processed.

He said the turnaround time is now down to three weeks when it was much more before.

The minister further credited this to the newly installed computer system at the Department of Immigration.

Comments

TalRussell 1 month ago

Yes, yes it depends on what the definition of is is amendments to the Immigration Act, if it will, or will not throw wide opened doors invite thousands comrade foreigners to compete against Colony of Out Islands local businesses, yes, no.... didn't Brent who seems has 'fetish' signing Work Permits and citizenship approvals - even when he before was the Deputy Prime Minister under Papa Hubert, not stand up floor Peoples Honourable House of Assembly to brag about tremendous revenue growth from increased quantity Work Permits granted by Papa Hubert regime, yes, no...... sweet Joseph, father Jesus - didn't Papa Hubert and Brent in one swoop not sign 3,000 work permits Chinese nationals labourers yes, yes, no - isn't it a matter, if the words any elected or appointed Imperial red shirt- should be Trusted, yes, no?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

This man is not to be trusted.

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bogart 1 month ago

........"Act will boost our economy"........"Act will not allow foreigners to complete with Bahamian businesses".........

WHY PUNISH BAHAMIANS TO CONTINUE TO SUFFER TO PUT UP WID OLIGOLOPIES...MONOPOLIES..........BUSINESSES IN HANDS OF FEW.......IRON CLOSED.......DETRIMENTAL TO DA BAHAMIAN PUBLIC.....WID NO ANTI COMPETITIVE LAWS....NO PROTECTECTIONS FOR DA BAHAMIANS........NO FINAMCIAL COMSUMER PROTECTIONS.......NO BANK POTECTIONS......FEW MERCHANTS WID LEGAL MECHANISMS TO BE DA SOLE EXCLUSIVE FOR ALL 700 ISLAMDS ROCKS CAYS....????????......

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birdiestrachan 1 month ago

Never mind the spin doctor he is making up stuff as he goes along. He is rich and getting richer under the FNM Government.

In the main time the poor suffer, but it is the peoples time, I say good for them all.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

"This is not meaning that a person can come in and do an audit for a company and go back out."

Of course not that would take money away from the accountants. And it's the accountants time

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Yes, yes maybe comrade Brent can explain such contradictory in the PM's hiring a "international investigation company' operating outside Colony of Out Islands, hired just this last 7 days fly-in team investigative probbers stick they foreign noses into such matters that led to the firing former board members of BPL, yes no..... are we presume Brent will refused sign such work permits hired man's and woman's coming probe into BPL, yes, no..... And, who knows if the international probbers, might just uncover evidence of some the PM's 'No Show" up board meetings cause they done dead before PM appointed them, yes, no.... And, maybe the PM can ask them lend some investigative assistance to Commish Policeman's, who for one year now has been unsuccessful in locating the 'missing' OBAN documents..... and gone 'missing' from the custody the well protected Imperial red shirts cabinet room, yes, no.... You can't just make such timing of the issuance work permits up, yes, true?

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

Is it possible there was international pressure for an investigation by an outside team over which the PM has no influence? Cause it is odd. Only time will tell.

If we never hear about it again it's all a PR stunt so no one can say they didn't do it during the election campaign.

if they finally admit that the minister appointed someone who knew nothing about running the plant and they forced an engineer to restart an engine causing it to burn up then they had an investigation. If they ask like Mrs Osbourne, how did the contracts jump in value by 4 million without supporting documents then they had an investigation. If they actually remove the perpetrators then the investigation had teeth. Otherwise it's more pseudo Trump PR postering.

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SP 1 month ago

"The Immigration Act will not allow foreigners to compete with my friends' Bahamian businesses"

If left up to Brent, all Bahamians would be 4th class citizens in our own country!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

And there's a lot more truth to that than you care to know my friend.

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professionalbahamian 1 month ago

wow! We would love to believe this but what BS. This is the icing on the cake of absolute government failure- borrow until you can't pay it back and then gamble that opening the borders will help get the books in the black.

Please be sure to allow Walmart, West Marine, Target, Hobby Lobby, and Home Depot to open stores here while you are at it (why not)! Hey and why not make sure every Foreign company sending workers here pays VAT, biz licensing fees, NIB, and import duties on everything to do with the running of their business!

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happyfly 1 month ago

what about all of the foreign building contractors and subcontractors that have their own business here because Bahamian Lawyers are fronting for them. The industry is getting so overrun with fly-by-night foreigners competing for every bit that the people fronting are complaining about how many people being fronted. I'm talking about independant general contractors, cabinet makers, painters....

The reality is that it is so much easier for politicians to just keep imagining up new laws and getting them passed when they have the majority in parliament - without ever having to go back and check on the old ones they made. Check whether they work or not, or if they are getting abused.

Just hoping one day that instead of adding more rules, the head of immigration one day asks the question why a lawyer on Shirley St has 15 work permits for 15 different construction companies, that have only been in business for a year ?? When your average small-time Bahamian builder would get laughed off of Hawkins Hill if they applied to get a permit for a foreign business partner

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Economist 1 month ago

Many building contracts go to Foreign Contractors because they put up performance bonds.

Bahamian Contractors don't want to do what is necessary to be able to qualify for the performance bond. Go figure.

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joeblow 1 month ago

If Symonette says this is a good thing, then we can be assured it is not--- for the country at least!

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Giordano 1 month ago

Don't panic!!. And don't walk in your brain either. It is well known that COMPETITION IS GOOD. It improves absolutely everything in benefit of the mass or vast majority of the people,the consumers. All investors should be welcomed,the bad and the good,they are investors. Let's them come!!, Walmart,Home Depot,Amazon,Sears,anyone!. Just make sure,Quality goes first,even before anybody including those who are native people.,Quality.!

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Giordano 1 month ago

As a matter of fact,this country should be the first to propose to the world : to open the border or frontiers under the condition that all Countries in the world do the same thing simultaneously. Hands,human hands are the ones that produce development. We need them to pay VAT & urbanize these family Islands full of Bush and beautiful young ladies who deserve better choices than these conky Joe all araound.

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