Hojeg Meat Processing Ltd v Bormuth

JudgeWilliams, J.A.,Belgrave J.A.
Judgment Date14 December 1990
CourtDivisional Court (Barbados)
Docket NumberNo. 115 of 1989
Date14 December 1990

Divisional Court

Williams, J.A.; Belgrave J.A.

No. 115 of 1989

Hojeg Meat Processing Limited

Mr. W.L. Inniss for the appellant.

Mr. D.K. Rawlins for the respondent.

Industrial law - Contract of service — Illegal contract — Employment of German by appellant company — No work permit — Breach of statute — Probationary period — Termination of employment — Whether respondent entitled to refund of airfare from appellant company — Immigration Act, Cap. 190.


Section 17(1) and (2) of the Immigration Act, Cap. 190 enacts as follows:

  • “17(1). A person other than a citizen, permanent resident or immigrant may not in Barbados engage in any occupation or accept employment without having first obtained a written permit for the purpose granted by the Minister.

  • (2) person may not engage or employ another person who is not a citizen, permanent resident or immigrant unless there is a work permit in force in relation to that other person and for the purpose of that engagement or employment.”


Contravention of either of these subsections is made an offence under the Act punishable on summary conviction by a fine of $5,000 or by imprisonment for 12 months or both.


This is an appeal by the defendant company, Hojeg Meat Processing Ltd., against a decision of a magistrate awarding the plaintiff George Bormuth $1660 being a refund of the air fare paid by him to travel to Barbados to take up the position of master butcher with the company. The sole issue raised on the appeal is whether the plaintiff, a West German national, who worked and whom the company employed in Barbados in breach of the statute can legally recover the amount claimed.


The facts taken from the magistrate's reasons are these: in late 1985 the company advertised in a West German newspaper for a young butcher master/journeyman to work in Barbados. The plaintiff successfully applied for the job and arrangements were made between the parties for the plaintiff to pay for his return air ticket from West Germany to Barbados, it being agreed that the plaintiff would be refunded by the company after the expiration of his probationary period. The plaintiff believed that period would be four weeks as in West Germany but the company intended it to be three months. The plaintiff arrived in Barbados, commenced employment with the company on 9th December, 1985 without having obtained a work permit and...

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