No new work permits, says Immigration minister

No new work permits, says Immigration minister
Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson advised today that the department will not be approving any new work permits – except in “extreme circumstances”.

Johnson told reporters outside Cabinet that as the country goes through its second wave of COVID-19 cases, the government is seeking to enforce protections for Bahamian workers

“We are not going to entertain any new work applications, especially where persons are in the jurisdiction,” he said.

“Only in extreme circumstances will we address that.

“So anybody who wants to make a work application for someone, they have to send us proof that that person, or those individuals are in their country of origin.”

Johnson advised that immigration officials are investigating a number of matters related to harboring undocumented individuals.

He underscored that this is an offense, along with any employer who hires a migrant without the proper licensing and documentation in The Bahamas.

“We are warning persons who do that,” Johnson said.

He reiterated that the offense carries a $10,000 fine and five years imprisonment.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced a two-week nationwide lockdown in order to help curve the onslaught of new COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas.

Employees have been advised to work from home and establishments that cannot operate remotely or provide curb-side service have been order to shut down.

The lockdown begins at 10pm tonight.

Johnson indicated that the immigration department will now be conducting services online.