Commercial Enterprise Bill to be debated tomorrow
Parliamentarians will debate the Commercial Enterprise Bill when the House of Assembly meets tomorrow.
In a statement, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the legislation “seeks to build a stronger and more stable economy”.
The bill will encourage both domestic and foreign investment in The Bahamas and will create economic zones where deemed necessary throughout the country, among other things.
“Companies wishing to do business in The Bahamas must be encouraged through policy and legislation to make an investment in the training of Bahamians to do jobs at all levels in various enterprises,” the prime minister said.
“The legislation is part of the government’s broader economic agenda for economic growth and jobs, which includes various projects and investments which will be announced when they are finalized.”
However, the legislation is not without controversial provisions.
The legislation seeks to liberalize the granting of work permits to an enterprise that wishes to establish itself in The Bahamas, and requires work permits for its management team and key personnel.
The bill allows for an employee of an enterprise that has a specified commercial enterprise certificate to enter The Bahamas “freely”. However, the application has to be made 30 days before entry. The certificate will remain valid for one year and is subject to approval.
In terms of applications for work permits, the bill also explains that the director of immigration has 14 days to grant the work permit, but if the director fails to do so within that time period, the work permit is deemed to have been granted.
A work permit granted will be for three years and renewable for an additional period of up to three years.
The employees who are granted work permits also have to be certified professionals that comply with conditions outlined by relevant regulatory agencies and bodies.