Higher work permit fees needed as immigration dept.’s expenses increase

Higher work permit fees needed as immigration dept.’s expenses increase

Chester Robard

The Nassau Guardian 

(April 17,2018) NASSAU, BAHAMAS -Work permit fees, which will be adjusted by July 1, are due for an increase, according to Immigration Minister Brent Symonette. An increase is also needed due to mounting expenses at the Department of Immigration that require increased revenue.

Symonette said yesterday that the fees have not been increased in ten years, meantime the Department of Immigration has embarked on establishing a registry which requires renting a building and has incurred costs of $1.6 million, to deport non-nationals.

“At some point someone has got to pay for this,” he said.

“In the last four weeks or so, we have moved over 300,000 files, physical files. Each of those represent a person who has applied for a work permit or otherwise in The Bahamas. That doesn’t include permanent residency, citizenship. That doesn’t include the GB Shipyard which is doing 300 a week. That’s just basically here.”

Symonette said there are only a couple of changes to the low end bracket where fees currently start at $1,000. He said recently that those permit fees could go from $1,000 to $2,000, given that they have not been adjusted since 2008.

The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) recently argued that the fee increases will negatively impact the cost of doing business in The Bahamas.

ORG is calling for the government to provide more information about the fee increases by engaging in public consultation on the issue.

ORG also urged the government in a press release to “align immigration and labor policies with long-term goals such as improved education, increased employment and workforce productivity, and improving the ease and cost of doing business.”

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