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Bermuda Work Permit Term Limits

Edit: In early 2013, the government of Bermuda announced that it had eliminated the work permit term limit policy for guest workers.

A question we're often asked relates to the duration of work permits Bermuda Work Permitissued in Bermuda.

All guest workers must be granted a work permit by the Bermudian Government in order to live and work on the Island. These work permits are applied for by the employer and standard permits are normally valid for set terms of one, two or three years. At the end of the initial term, the permit can normally be extended for another term.

Due to the size of Bermuda and its high population density (home to 65,000 residents) some controls are needed to avoid overcrowding and to preserve employment opportunities for local citizens. In 2001, the Bermudian Government introduced a six-year term limit on work permits - meaning that the majority of work permits could be renewed to a maximum of six years. This policy is similar to work permit terms in other offshore international business centers.

While the majority of permit holders (roughly 10,000) in Bermuda are subject to the six year limit policy, there are exceptions made for professions where the demand for qualified staff far outweighs supply. These roles are quite varied but include Senior Technology Professionals, Chartered Accountants, Senior Insurance Professionals and others. There are also exceptions made for Managing Directors and other key leadership positions.

As the limit was first introduced in 2001, the impact has just recently begun to be felt as the first few waves of permit holders reached limits over the last few years. This has been a hot topic of discussion in Bermuda’s political and business circles. As a result, the Bermudian Government has recently introduced 10 year work permits available for key employees of employer that meet certain requirements.

It is quite likely that there will be changes going forward to ensure that the policy continues to address the needs of citizens and both local and international business in Bermuda.


Author: Jason Squires