The proposed Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, 2018, would impose a term limit of seven years on the grant of work visa, at which time that worker must leave The Bahamas for at least a year before they can be granted another work visa.
“Upon the expiration of the term limit…and whether such visas are granted and held continuously or not, the worker shall leave The Bahamas and shall not be eligible for the grant or renewal of a work visa until he has ceased to hold a work visa for not less than a year after he has left The Bahamas,” the bill reads.
The clause, however, would not apply to a person “who had and continues to have his normal place of work and abode for the time being outside The Bahamas and who enters The Bahamas to work on a short-term work visa for a specific purpose or occasion only and leaves The Bahamas at the end thereof or upon the expiry of the short-term work visa, whichever first occurs”.
This would include legal counsel acting in any matter for which they are specially called to The Bahamas Bar; visiting doctors or other specialists in the medical field who have traveled to treat special cases or provide instruction to medical students; traveling salesmen; or skilled specialist tradesmen lending their expertise to any matter or other specialists in similar circumstances.
A worker who leaves The Bahamas before the expiration of their term limit and who has ceased to hold a work visa for a least a year, may apply for and be granted a new work visa and shall receive a renewed seven-year term limit.
In the instance where a worker has left The Bahamas prior to the expiration of his term limit and has ceased to hold a work visa but either he or his employer wishes to apply for a new work visa prior to his having ceased to hold a work visa for one year or more, then the worker or his employer may apply for and be granted a new work visa but his term limit shall remain as if his employment had not been interrupted.
The expiration of these individuals’ term limit of seven years shall apply unless they are allowed to remain in the country under some other provision.
Additionally, the spouse of a work visa holder who has been granted a work visa will have that visa automatically terminated on the date that their spouse ceases to have the right to work in The Bahamas under subsection 1 of Clause 105 of the bill.
“The term limit for a work visa granted to a spouse of persons referred to in section 89 shall be deemed to have commenced on the date on which he was first in The Bahamas as a spouse, and he shall thereafter be subject to the provisions of this section as if he had first entered The Bahamas as a worker,” the bill added.
The bill is still out for consultation and is subject to change.