The Minister of Labour and Immigration delivered a communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday updating Parliamentarians on immigration issues including the ongoing Operation Restore initiative.

The Hon. Keith Bell said, “investigations on Abaco have shown that a significant number of persons are working outside the scope of their permits. The employers are in New Providence or some other island and the permit holders are working outside New Providence independent of their employer. Additionally Madam Speaker, they are also working outside the scope of the grant in that many were classified as handymen or farm labourers were found engaged in other classified fields of employment of skilled labour.”

The Minister further revealed, “from January 2023 to the 1st of March, 2023 some eighty one persons were found in Abaco using work permits issue for employers in New Providence alone. These persons were removed from Abaco and in each case the permit is liable to revocation. To date sixty five of the eighty one persons have been charged and convicted before the Magistrate’s Court.”

Bell also appealed to Bahamians employers to follow the law. He said, “over the past three months Operation Restore has resulted in over $90,000 being collected in back fees for processing and document fees from Bahamian employers of various persons taken into custody. Immigration fees must be paid. Pay Immigration its fees, work permits are obtained by employers and it is the employer’s responsibility to pay the government its fees. Any employer found owing Immigration will be required to pay all fees owing and could face prosecution.”