Working in Bermuda:
The Positives and Negatives
The positives of living and working in Bermuda easily outweigh the negatives. An island with turquoise Atlantic surrounding it, the amazing marine life, the pristine pink beaches, warm weather, friendly natives, and all this accompanied with great food and modern amenities is a dream for many.
The lifestyle that you can get in Bermuda can be unmatched anywhere in the world. Don't believe it? Then check out Why go to Bermuda
to know what this island can offer in form of a lifestyle. And when you get such living with high level of earnings that is tax free, it's a double bonus.
The result? Around 20% of Bermuda's population are expatriates. It is not uncommon in Bermuda to get a salary that ranges from a 6-digit to over a million dollars per year if you have suitable professional qualifications, particularly in skills that are not easily found in the island.
So you want to give it a try? Then check out How to get a job in Bermuda
to understand all about job scenes in Bermuda and what it takes to get an employment there.
However just like any other country, there are some downsides of living in Bermuda as well.
Here they are:
1) Work Permits
are usually issued for 1 to 3 years depending on employer's requirement and application. Earlier there was a maximum term limit of 6 years. In February 2013, the maximum term limit for work permits was eliminated. But an employer must still apply for a term and pay fees accordingly. And depending on their future requirement, the employer may decide to renew the permit at the end of the term but only if an eligible local human resource (i.e. a Bermudian) is not available for the job. So you should be prepared to leave the island once the term of work permit expires.
Note that a work permit is issued for a specific employer of Bermuda. So it can not be used to get another job with a different employer under normal circumstances.
2) Permanent residence or citizenship is not offered to expatriates in Bermuda, unless one gets married to a Bermudian, lives together for at least 10 years and then applies for a citizenship. There are no exceptions on this for nationals of any country. This actually makes sense. In such a small place, the government always strives to ensure that there is a precedence and fair opportunities given to Bermudians by keeping the number of non-nationals restricted.
3) As a non-Bermudian, you can get only one job in Bermuda and won't be allowed to pursue any other source of earning for the first two years. If your spouse wishes to find a job in Bermuda, he or she needs to go through the same immigration formalities and get another work permit. Bermudians, by the way, do take up two or sometimes even three day jobs to make their ends meet. Expatriates do not have this leeway initially, and later when they become eligible to look for a second job, getting it becomes increasingly difficult because of the preferences given to Bermudians.
4) You can not generally change a job unless you can show that you have been maltreated or made redundant. The Work permit is issued for a specific employer.
5) Cost of living in Bermuda
is one of the highest in the world. That's because everything including food is imported. One is supposed to be living in a poor condition in Bermuda if one's annual earning is less than $27,000. Fortunately, there are very few who are poor in Bermuda. An expat coming as a professional can easily earn an annual salary above $150,000.
6) You will be required to stay in a rental accommodation in general. House rentals can be quite expensive and you should negotiate this as part of your job offer. Most of the good employers in Bermuda provide accommodation or pay a part of the rent.
Houses can not be purchased by non-Bermudians in general. In exceptional cases, one with a high-end job can buy a home property mostly from other non-Bermudians. Such houses are usually over priced and can cost in millions. Owning a house in Bermuda however does not mean any permanent residence. Visit Purchasing a house in Bermuda
Bermuda is a small island of about 21 square mile in size. You won't find many of the large city amenities here like a movie multiplex or a mega shopping mall, or McDonalds (although there are local fast-food outlets
, franchises and one KFC), thriving club culture and such.
If your friends and relatives want to visit you, they can only do so as tourists. And tourists are allowed a maximum stay of 6 months in the island. Only your spouse and children are allowed to stay with you as long as you work in Bermuda. Go through Maximum stay allowed for visitors
10) To avail of any medical services on the island, you will need to avail a local health insurance which again is quite expensive in Bermuda.
11) If you need to send your children to private schools, you will quickly realize how expensive is the education here. Scholarships and such benefits are awarded to Bermudian children only.
12) Only one car per household is allowed in Bermuda for residents. Moreover, Only Bermuda-issued driving license is allowed here and any other is not considered valid.
While there are some hurdles in Bermuda like managing the overwhelming cost of living and perhaps compromising with the life-style you have been accustomed to back home in your city, but you come here for different reasons... to carve out a slice of life in paradise and on a north Atlantic island that's so serene and yet so diverse when it comes to the culture
, attractions, dining, shopping and nightlife. All said and done, Bermuda continues to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
And hopefully at the end of the day when you go back home, you will be considerably richer than you were when you came here, and you will carry back home many fond memories that you will likely cherish for rest of your life.
Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Hana (September 2020)
Hi Raj, Thank you for the previous information. Just another quick question... As I am coming from the UK, I was planning on bringing my laptop and doing some work out in Bermuda (NOT for a Bermudian company or seeking work in Bermuda) just for helping my work out back in the UK.
Would you know if there are any contacts that I could ask if this would be OK? It would just be 'remotely working' from the apartment (my partners) I am staying in for the UK company I am already employed for? Or if you could help that would be really helpful. If you need any more information, please do let me know. Thanks,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) September 2020
Hi, Personally I don't think working remotely on your laptop while visiting Bermuda would be a concern, otherwise sending out an official email to one's company back home could also be deemed as working out remotely... many visitors I am sure, need to do so. I don't think any country has any law against this. Bloggers do this all the time.
Bermuda is actually going a step ahead and even offering a one-year residence for such remote work. However, if you need to use an app or connect to an online system that are restricted or banned in Bermuda, you will obviously not be able to work remotely. For official guidelines and clarifications on the matter, I suggest you contact Bermuda's Department of Immigration (Phone: +1 441 295 5151, Ext. 1378). Best,
Jay (April 2017)
Hi, If I moved to Bermuda with my spouse, who will have a work permit, and I worked from home for my current employer (international company) would I need to obtain a work permit? Would this be allowed or would it need to be Bermudian company I work for, to live and work on Bermuda?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) April 2017
On a spouse visa you are not allowed to work in Bermuda, for that you need a work permit of your own. However there is no guidelines restricting spouses to work for their international companies online from Bermuda, because that does not jeopardize jobs of Bermudians.