Bermuda is well known for its offshore tax and legal regimes but what about the people living there? I recently went to Bermuda to meet Brian, an expatriate who left New York to live in the sun. In my interview, I wanted to learn more about this mysterious island (referring to the Bermuda triangle) and to get answers at some important questions about living abroad. This is what he shared with me:
Is it possible to work in Bermuda?
To get a work permit your employer must apply and obtain a Government work permit. The permit will allow you to work for up to ten years and you can only have one employer (you may not work two jobs at once). In order for the permit to be issued, your employer must prove that they tried but were unable to obtain a Bermudian for that position.
Is it difficult to find a place to live?
It can be difficult to find suitable housing. Most expats will choose to rent, at least initially and rent for apartments can be quite high. If you decide to purchase a home, you will probably need help navigating through the restrictions placed on foreign nationals for owning property in Bermuda.
Can I bring my furniture into the country?
Well, you can, but it may cost a fortune. Bermuda requires a 25% import duty on anything you bring in. Keeping receipts is a good idea in case you need to prove the cost of something. If you plan on leaving the island and returning, you’ll need to register any electronics before you go to avoid paying import duty on them when you return.
Do you pay for water?
The rooftops in Bermuda are designed to catch water and fill storage tanks below the house. If you live in a drier area you may experience water shortages. Water can be purchased and delivered via water trucks. If the weather has been extremely dry, receiving your water may take some time.
Is Bermuda a cheap place to live?
No. But you can choose to live in less expensive areas of the country. Many goods are imported and you will pay for the privilege of receiving them.
Will I need a car?
This depends mainly on where you live. In town, having a car can be quite expensive and almost a nuisance. Anyone wishing to buy a car will find themselves wading through a mountain of paperwork. Public transportation is a good option for most people as is a scooter.
Can I rent a car?
No. Bermuda does not allow car rentals.
Is it safe there?
For the most part, yes. Like any area, Bermuda has regions that are less safe than others and those particular areas should be avoided. At home, take sensible precautions such as installing locks and having good outdoor lighting.
What about bugs and other pests?
Ants and cockroaches are the biggest problem. It is a warm climate and roaches are plentiful. Some areas have a lot of rats and mice. If you have particular concerns, talk to the people living in the area to determine if there are problems.
What is the weather like?
Hot and humid in the summer with mild, rainy winters. Temperatures rarely fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or rise above 85 degrees. The humidity in the summer is often around 100%. The sun is quite powerful and sunscreen is important to use and have on hand.
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