Economic Recovery Committee recommends work visa initiative

Economic Recovery Committee recommends work visa initiative
Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) has put forward suggestions to the government over a work visa initiative similar to what Barbados has introduced, Financial Secretary and ERC co-chair Marlon Johnson revealed yesterday.

Johnson was a panelist on a virtual town hall hosted by the Ministry of Financial Services’ sub-committee.

“The ERC took that matter up straight away and we have already made our findings known to the government,” he said.

“We have some preliminary indications that the government is interested in what we put forward. You may hear some comments coming from that. That is as much as I could say about that but we did jump on it as a committee and made representations to the government.”

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has proposed the ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ scheme which would give visitors the option to work remotely in the country for one year at a time. 

The initiative is due to be launched in August and will be open to anyone earning more than $50,000 per year. The initiative is designed to provide a much-needed boost to the island’s tourist-dependent economy.

The ERC was appointed and charged by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to provide actionable recommendations to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Bahamas. 

According to a recent statement, the ERC will present its policy recommendations and findings in a final report to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet by early September 2020.

The forum was hosted on ZOOM, and at one point, the discussion was disrupted by hackers displaying gruesome jihadist beheadings before the video was abruptly ended.

The forum was restarted, and the discussion continued uninterrupted.

The committee is co-chaired by Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson, financial services veteran Kenwood Kerr, and other local stakeholders.