In this section:
- Bahamas Regulatory
- Bahamas Work Permits
relations and employment are governed by the
Fair Labour Standards Act 1970 and the Industrial
Relations Act 1970 as amended.
unions are organised by industry rather than
by craft. About 30% of the workforce is unionised,
predominantly in the hotel and shipping industries.
There are no 'closed shops'. Strikes are rare,
and industrial relations generally good; the
unions act effectively in negotiation with employers
and in controlling their members.
contracts of employment are not mandatory, but
are often prepared, especially when a union
is involved. One week of paid holiday is the
entitlement after one year of employment, although
normally two are given. Two weeks of paid sick
leave are usually allowed. The law gives eight
weeks of paid maternity leave.
There is no legal entitlement to notice on termination,
but one pay period is the norm. There are no
formal procedures to terminate employment, but
it is prudent to consult with the Labour Board
- a dismissed employee may appeal to the Labour
Board if he believes the dismissal was unjust.
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Bahamas Work Permits
wanting to work or trade in the islands must
obtain a work permit from the Immigration Department.
In the case of an employee, the employer makes
the application and must show that there is
no suitable Bahamian candidate for the position.
This includes advertising in newspapers; employers
are also expected to have training programmes
for Bahamians in the skills they are likely
permits are usually issued for one year, renewable,
although for senior executives it can be three
Normally an application will not be processed
if the prospective employee is already in The
Bahamas, having entered as a visitor.
permit fees range from BSD350 to BSD10,000 per
year depending on the category. In March 2013,
the Immigration Minister announced that the
Government is considering raising the work permit
work permits have been granted, each employer
will be required to identify a suitable Bahamian
to understudy the expatriate so that the Bahamian
trainee will fill the expatriate’s position
within a reasonable time frame.
permit issued by the Immigration Board relates
to a specific post. Permits are not altered
by the director of immigration to reflect change
of employment or residence. However, a person
holding a work permit may make application for
a new one (his new employer having been unsuccessful
in recruiting a qualified Bahamian to fill the
post) without having to leave the islands.
renewal of a permit on expiration is not automatic.
Generally, no expatriate may be continually
employed in the country in any capacity for
more than five years. However, there are likely
to be cases where hardship will be caused by
rigid implementation of this policy; according
to government, this factor will be kept in mind
in applying the regulations.
early 2007, it emerged that the Bahamas financial
services industry had developed an immigration
framework designed to help the jurisdiction
compete with other offshore financial centres
for a finite pool of skilled workers. The proposals
were drawn up following discussions between
the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB),
responsible for promoting the jurisdiction's
finance industry internationally, and the Ministry
of Immigration, Labour and Training (MILT).
Two primary 'financial services industry' contacts
have been appointed within the Department of
Immigration, with the turnaround period for
the processing of completed FSI work permit
applications now pegged at 6 weeks.
MILT will also consider a more flexible work
permit system that reflects the availability
of workers in certain occupations and may grant
shorter work permits for employment in areas
where there is an acute shortage of skills in
just the Bahamas, and medium- to long-term permits
for jobs where there is a worldwide shortage
of qualified candidates.
November 2007, Minister of State for Immigration,
Elma Campbell announced that the government’s
comprehensive immigration policy was “well
underway”, and was addressing the challenges
facing the Department of Immigration in the
areas of illegal migration and the processing
of work permits.
the launching of the new immigration policy,
the Immigration Board convenes weekly in New
Providence and twice a month in Grand Bahama.
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