Living in Bermuda is one of the lifelong dreams of many due to its high flying and fast lifestyle which is complemented by a high income and job contracts that would enable you to stay in this beautiful cluster of islands for an extended period of time. To plan realistically, check your work permit to see how long it is valid so that you can rent an apartment during its tenure.
Permits and citizenship
Job extensions of three years are not uncommon but heavy fees are levied on extensions and you may have to be prepared for your company to recover some of it from your salary. Your performance will also count when your employer appraises you. In today’s world there are seldom second chances and if you manage in doing an impressive job, your employer would happily grant you an extension on your work permit. However, a word of caution, no matter how long you stay in Bermuda, you will never get a citizenship. Voting rights are not there for you unless you get married to a Bermudian and cohabit for 10 years.
Housing can pose a problem in Bermuda and is quite expensive for the average Joe. Your employer may make temporary arrangements but you do need to find something for yourself which does not burn a hole in your pocket. Normally expats like to live in small apartments or share with fellow workers, if you want an approximation of rentals in Bermuda, there’s Bermuda Housing.
Living in Bermuda can be a double edged sword. On one hand, it has a great lifestyle always in rhythm with the high salaries paid to professionals while on the other hand there is high cost of living which actually tends to balance things out. People are not taxed for income, wealth or capital; however you’ll find a lot of under the cover taxes which make Bermuda one of the costliest places in the world to be. As a benchmark, the cost of living index in Bermuda is 4 times that of the United States and nearly thrice that of the UK. While shifting here, you’ll need to pay taxes on all your stuff except for a few used items like old clothes and books. Bermuda requires you to pay taxes to your home country, especially if it’s the USA, UK or Canada. There are few relaxations regarding this, an individual who does not earn more than $80,000 will not have to pay income tax.
Options for family
If you’re planning to move here with your wife and kids, make sure your spouse takes the same path of applying for a job and she should have a separate work permit.Additionally, expatriates are not permitted to hold multiple day jobs here. You have to keep in mind that in a small island like Bermuda, the natives will be given first preference, when your work permit runs out, your employer will normally try to recruit a Bermudian for the same job, however if you’re good at what you do , getting an extension shouldn’t be a problem. Nowadays there are no term limits on permits and can be extended depending on the employer’s needs.
Bermuda allows your wife and kids to stay with you during your tenure but the same does not apply when your partner is there. He or she will be treated as a tourist and will have to comply with tourist regulations including leaving the island on time. Old fashioned landlords may frown on you for this but hotels pose no such problems. Recently, an amendment made it possible to have your significant other and offspring to live in Bermuda during your stay, depending on some conditions.
Education and learning
Education of children in this island nation is quite up the mark and most schools are run by the government, however some foreigners like to send their children to a private school. The ethnic diversity of these schools helps to foster a spirit of understanding and compassion in children from a very early age which is very encouraging. The schools are professional, friendly and helpful at all times with highly qualified staff.
Medical and other insurance
Medical insurance is a headache in Bermuda and its cost is more that that in North America. Automatic medical coverage is non-existent in Bermuda, and expenses for healthcare have overtaken other countries to occupy the second highest spot. Surprisingly, unlike most other countries, Bermuda does not have either a national health system or a system of medical services.
Entertainment and culture
Entertainment in Bermuda is probably the best in the world; you’ll strike up lasting friendships very easily with fellow expats and locals alike and enjoy their company. Don’t miss this opportunity to wriggle out some facts about Bermuda if you can. The natives will take you in as one of their own and you can have a good time at one of the many pubs and restaurants which bear quaint names with the likes of Hog Penny, Robin Hood, Pickled Onion and Henry VII throbbing with music and chatter on weekends. If you are a formal kind of a person then you might want to attend a few lunches and dinners hosted by the expatriate community in Bermuda. In a recent study, Bermuda ranked as second most friendly country in the world because of its overriding advantages of economy, friendliness, community integration and cultural absorption.
An article on Bermuda would be incomplete without a mention of its delicious cuisine. Typical Bermudian cuisines are the pan fried fish coupled with sweet potatoes, codfish preparations with potatoes served with egg sauce, fish soup with fish head with black rum and peppers. You can also taste broiled lobster seasoned with lemon and melting butter. There’s also a dish which they call Hoppin’ John with peas and rice. But a word of caution, most of these items are expensive, so if you are a gourmet, try to learn making them yourself so you can treat yourself and friends to a great meal when the mood suits you.
Public transport is the main mode of transport comprising of trains and buses. If you carry a monthly pass, then you could easily avail of unlimited rides on bus and ferry within the time limit. Credit cards of the home country are advised to be retained as their coverage is much wider.
As the time of leaving Bermuda draws closer (unless your permit is renewed) take time out to pack your stuff and say your goodbyes. Bermuda will stay in your heart for the rest of your life and the least you can do is smile and wave goodbye.