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Relocating to Bermuda

What’s involved in relocating to this subtropical paradise?

So you’ve successfully interviewed and received an offer of employment in Bermuda. Congratulations! In order for you to now move forward, your future employer will be required to apply for and be granted a work permit on your behalf.  While the employer is responsible for submitting the application to the Government, this will involve a bit of running around on your end in order to gather the documentation needed for the application.

What’s required?

While it partially depends on the complexity of your situation (if there are spouses and/or dependents involved you will be required to provide more documentation related to them), the process should not be too difficult for most. Your employer will provide you with a check list and an immigration application form that outlines what’s needed. This checklist should be followed very closely as any incomplete applications are likely to be returned – resulting in unnecessary delays in your permit!

In general, you’ll need to hold a valid passport which will also serve as proof of citizenship (if you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to apply for a passport!). You’ll also be asked for a police certificate / criminal background check which can be obtained at your local police station for a small fee. A visit to your doctor will be required as you’ll need to provide a letter of ‘general good health’ and depending on your current location, possibly a chest x-ray. In addition to these documents, you’ll be asked for additional passport sized photos, written professional and character references as well as copies of any certifications, degrees or related diplomas. The majority of these documents will need to be notarized by a Notary Public to certify them as copies of true original documents.

Got it all… now what?

Once all your documents are gathered and sent by courier to Bermuda, the employer will submit the application to the Immigration department and pay the relevant application fee. From there, provided all your documents were in order, the processing period for a standard work permit can often range from 4-6 weeks (and sometimes longer).

Permit approved… time to move!

After some time has passed, you’ll be notified that your permit has been approved and that travel arrangements can now be made. Exciting times! What to bring? In general, the lighter you’re able to travel the better in most cases – particularly when you’re arriving to temporary accommodation and will likely be moving again within a few weeks… why move all that stuff twice?!  Many of the rentals available are semi or fully furnished so moving furniture is usually not necessary and a cost that can be avoided. Many bring their clothing (minus that winter parka!) along with some personal items, computer and sporting gear such as golf clubs, rackets, scuba gear etc.

Shipping and duty charges

There are a variety of options available when it comes to shipping your things to the Island.  Some employers may have shipping companies that they utilize regularly and they may suggest or even arrange this for you in some cases.  Otherwise, there are several freight and air cargo forwarders that can be very helpful in arranging for your things to arrive in Bermuda.  If you’re traveling lightly you may find simply paying the airline’s extra baggage a practical alternative.

Bermuda offers a duty free allowance called the Transfer of Residency Allowance (TRA) that applies to personal and professional goods that many would be bringing when first arriving.  The TRA covers personal clothing, computers, portable tools, appliances and furniture that has been in your possession for at least 6 months.

You may be assessed some duty charges on other goods that you import however the rates are reasonable and used items are generally taken at current value (depreciated) rather than the cost at time of purchase. Duty charges will also apply on subsequent items you bring into the country (the TRA is usually just applicable within 90 days of when you first take up residency).

One other note –  with so many expat workers continuously leaving and arriving in Bermuda, it’s quite easy to purchase quality used goods at reasonable costs on the Island to avoid duty charges. Keep an eye out for leaving the Island sales.

Settling in to Bermuda

Your arrival should go fairly smoothly and no doubt you’ll be well on your way to settling in to Bermuda quickly! While there are housing listings published on local sites such as E-moo, many workers relocating to Bermuda tend to find housing through word of mouth (coworkers, friends etc).  Often the realtor advertised properties reflect the higher end of the price spectrum, where as more inexpensive properties rent quickly without the need to advertise. Many employers are able to assist you in locating suitable rental housing once you’ve arrived and most people you meet will be full of information and tips to help ensure your experience goes as smoothly as possible!

We’re here to help throughout the relocation process and happy to answer questions along the way.

Author: Jason Squires

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