The first thing to consider before moving to Bermuda is that everybody wishing to stay for longer than a few months needs a work permit. This means that it’s not generally possible to move to Bermuda and commence a job search once there. Instead, would-be expats must search for a job beforehand, and then arrange for the employer to sort a work permit before traveling over to the island. However, in spite of this necessity, it’s still possible to get a job in a wide range of industries that base themselves on the island.
With over a quarter of a million tourists visiting the island every year, Bermuda predictably relies heavily on the tourist industry, and this is one of the areas that brings in the most money. In fact, almost 30% of Bermuda’s GDP is made through the tourism industry, with most tourists coming across from the United States.
Another popular source of income on the island is the finance industry. Over the past few decades, Bermuda has gradually built a reputation for itself as an established financial center, with thousands of companies using Bermuda as their nominal base. This is generally down to a combination of the integrity of the country’s financial regulatory system as well as the tax system in place.
In the past, Bermuda derived much of its wealth from exports, particularly agricultural ones, although this is no longer the case. Nonetheless, many well-known companies are still based on Bermuda, most notably Bacardi rum. Others include Global Crossing Ltd., Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., and Bunge Ltd., amongst others. Of course, one disadvantage of the lack of exports (and the reduction in agriculture) is that most food and material goods must now be imported into the country. This has resulted in a situation where everything in Bermuda has gotten significantly more expensive over the years.
For instance, a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant can be expected to cost at least 50 USD per person, and a meal at a fast food restaurant (which can usually be found for around 7 USD in the US) will cost something in the region of 11 USD on Bermuda. The price of alcohol is also rather high: around 2.50 USD for a 0.33 liter bottle of imported beer, around 15 USD for a mid-range bottle of wine. Rent is also significantly higher than in most other countries: a one bedroom apartment outside of Hamilton will cost around 1.800 USD per month, whereas the same sized apartment in the city center will set back the occupant more along the lines of 2.7000 USD per month.
However, with high prices also comes high incomes, and the average Bermuda resident can be expected to earn around 5,000 USD of disposable income; significantly higher than the average earnings of a UK or US resident. In fact, Bermuda boasts one of the highest GDPs per capita of any country on earth, and this is reflected in the salaries of its residents.
As stated in our section on moving to Bermuda, it’s imperative that prospective expats find a job before relocating or traveling to Bermuda. Even searching while on holiday in Bermuda is frowned upon, and employers will be unlikely to give a job to somebody doing this.
One tried and tested method of job hunting is to take a look through the local newspaper. In this case, the most popular newspaper on the island is the Royal Gazette, which offers job listings on its website. Alternatively, jobseekers can search some of the popular job search websites such as Reed and Indeed, both of which offer a wide range of different jobs in Bermuda along with easy methods of application.
One of the huge perks of moving to Bermuda is the fact that it doesn’t impose any income tax on its residents. The same goes for VAT, capital gains tax, wealth tax, and sales tax. However, taxation is imposed on imports and, due to the island’s lack of industry, most foods and other goods must be imported. This is a major contributing factor to the territory’s high cost of living, although this is mitigated somewhat by the high average salary of Bermuda residents.