Minister Caines ~ Department of Immigration update
This evening, the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Caines provided an update regarding the phased resumption of services at the Department of Immigration.
Minister Caines advised that an info guide outlining what services will be available from tomorrow, May 4 can be found on the government portal at www.gov.bm/coronavirus-resources. However the Minister provided a general update of what the Department will be engaged in during the first phase of its resumption of services.
Minister Caines said, “We are thankful for the patience of the public as we navigate through this difficult time as a country. We are also especially grateful for the efforts of all our staff in the Ministry of National Security who have continued to operate in some form during the Shelter in Place. From an operational stand point, the Department of Immigration will partially re-open tomorrow Monday May 4, observing strict social and physical distancing as outlined by the Ministry of Health. All staff will work in shifts in accordance with a defined work schedule:
- Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.
- Public Gallery: The main Immigration offices on the 1st floor of the Government Administration Office will not be open to the public
- Communications: Immigration staff will communicate with customers via email and telephone.
- Appointments: If required, staff will arrange in person meetings with customers by appointment only, and both staff and customers must wear masks and gloves
- Drop Boxes: A Corporate Services Drop Box and a Personal Services Drop Box will be placed at the main entrance of the Government Administration Building. Applications submitted after 2:30pm will be recorded as received on the next business day.
- Mail Delivery: Documents will no longer be available for pick-up from the Collections Desk, but will be sent via mail beginning the week of May 4, 2020.
Passports and Other Applications:
- Emergency (for Medical only) Passport Applications – will be accepted starting at May 4, 2020; applicants must submit formal documentation in support of the medical emergency
- Expired Passports – the Department will advise when it be accepting applications for expired passports.
- New Passports (First-time Applicants) – the Department will advise when it will be accepting applications for new (first-time) passport applications.
- New Applications – The Department will not accept new applications during the period May 4-15, 2020. The Department will advise the public when it will be accepting new applications, by May 16, 2020.
Further information regarding visas, visitor extensions, work permits in general, including short term emergency work permits and C-Suite work permits can be found at www.gov.bm/coronavirus-resources.
As a final note, the Department of Immigration reminds that any immigration breaches should be reported via the Tip Line at 296-5202 or on the Department of Immigration Investigation Request Portal at https://www.doiapps.gov.bm/immigrationtips. Emailed information can be sent to Immigrationcomplaints@gov.bm.
E-Application Form – Permitted Business
Earlier today the Ministry of National Security advised that an online application process will be put in place for businesses seeking approval to operate a service during the next Shelter in Place period.
The Ministry can confirm that the e-application form is live on the Government Portal. The form can be accessed at: https://forms.gov.bm/covid19/permitted-business.
This e-form will enable the Ministry to grant approvals. The Ministry will review submitted applications and contact applicants (during business hours) within 24-hours of receipt of a completed application. As a reminder, the submission of an application does not automatically mean that a business will be given approval to operate. Any business that opens contrary to the Emergency Powers (Shelter in Place) Regulations is liable to prosecution.
Press Release from Ministry of National Security
We appreciate and understand the feedback, queries, suggestions and concerns being shared by all those who have expressed an interest in operating a service during the next Shelter in Place period.
However it’s critically important to remind the community that we still must ensure that we are following the health guidance to protect and safeguard all our residents from the transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Any approved business will have significant operating restrictions in keeping with the social distancing guidelines. And the reality is that we must manage the expectations of those organisations and businesses that are seeking permission from the Ministry to operate.
As it stands the updated amendments are effective tomorrow, Monday, 20th April 2020.
To assist businesses, we have created an online form so that businesses can make application to operate. The form will available later today and the public will be advised when the e-form is live. Guidance Notes will be included with the online application form to assist applicants.
The Ministry will review submitted applications and contact applicants (during business hours) within 24-hours of receipt of a completed application. This e-form will enable the Ministry to grant approvals.
I want to make it clear however, that the submission of an application does not automatically mean that a business will be given approval to operate. And any business that opens contrary to the Emergency Powers (Shelter in Place) Regulations is liable to prosecution.
As a reminder the updated amendments will include the following:
- Roadside sales by a licensed fisherman;
- Roadside sales by a registered commercial farmer;
- Laundromats under certain restrictions;
- Pet shops under certain restrictions;
- Hardware stores (including paint stores) under certain restrictions;
- Plant nurseries under certain restrictions; and
- Shipping and freight companies under certain restrictions;
- Delivery Services (Including Couriers & Taxis)
If a business under any of the above categories is granted approval, it will require written authorization from the Ministry of National Security prior to the commencement of operations. If you do not receive this authorization prior to operation you will be in contravention of the law. We understand some businesses have advertised, however we would urge they to wait for approvals to be received before sending notices to customers.
Lastly, as we work through this process, we are asking for the public’s patience. We are receiving a considerable volume of calls and emails, and these will likely not receive an immediate response because our team is engaged in the critical work of overseeing our approval processes.
We recognise that these are testing and anxious times for our businesses. We empathise with you, and we are working to assist where we can.
But the reality is that we have a responsibility and a priority to protect our citizens – these are your loved ones, your family members, your friends, your neighbours.
And these restrictions are in place to save lives.