Live like a Bermudians; essential guide to living on Bermuda
By Tristan Ralston on 14th July, 2016
Bermudians love to welcome people to Bermuda. Still, there are some rules and restrictions you need to be aware of before booking your one way ticket. And even though Bermudians love living here, just because it’s paradise, not quite everything is perfect, and you need to know about some of the challenges, as it’s easy to become blinded by the many things that make Bermuda so special.
« You will need a work permit: If you want to live here—and assuming you haven’t won the lottery yet—you probably will need a job which means you will need a work permit. The basic rule for this is pretty simple: employers can only hire a non-Bermudian if there are no qualified Bermudians available, a process which is determined by advertising the job. Assuming there were no qualified Bermudians and the employer wants you, you will need to fill out a work permit application which your employer will submit on your behalf.
« A place to rest your head: Assuming you receive a work permit, you and your employer will organize your flight to Bermuda but you will need somewhere to live. Houses and condos can only be bought by non-Bermudians if they are above a certain tax band, so chances are that when you arrive, you will be renting. Many employers will arrange short-term accommodation for you before you arrive, but this is not a requirement. Bermuda has a large number of real estate agents who can help you and you can also make use of websites like www.propertyskipper.bm and www.emoo.bm. You will be expected to pay rent in advance and to pay a deposit, so don’t blow your savings on your going away party.
« What to bring: Some employers will help you to relocate your belongings, especially in the international business sector, but often this will be left to you. If you have not been given a relocation allowance, you should check into prices as shipping goods to Bermuda is expensive. If you are only planning to come for a couple of years, it may be better to sell or store everything but your most valued possessions, come with a couple of suitcases and start afresh. Many rental properties are furnished and for those which aren’t, you can buy new or secondhand items easily. Bermuda’s transient population means there are frequent leaving island sales, where you can pick up quality goods for low prices. Emoo, which is basically Bermuda’s version of craigslist and eBay in one, is a great source of goods and locations of house sales.
« Clothing: Unlike the Caribbean, Bermuda has seasons. Don’t just show up with a selection of t-shirts and bathing suits; you will need a jacket and warmish clothes for the winter.
« Getting around: If you have visited Bermuda before, you already know about mopeds and public transport. As a resident, you can also own a car, but many new residents, especially those who are single or are coming without children, will start with a moped or using public transport. Do take care with mopeds. If you are happy on two wheels, they are an affordable and convenient way of getting around, especially in the summer, but you must remember that unlike a car, there is nothing between you and the ground, especially when the roads are slick. If you’re unhappy, take the bus.
« Bermuda is expensive: It doesn’t change when you live here. Although salaries generally track the cost of living, you will suffer sticker shock on first landing. There are bargains to be had though. Take advantage of supermarket discount days and be sure to shop around.
« Live like a local: There’s much more to Bermuda than sun and sand. Whether you’re a party lover, sportsman, or arts aficionado, there are innumerable clubs and activities to take part in. As an expatriate, you may feel more comfortable spending time with people of your own nationality, but you should immerse yourself in Bermuda’s cultural richness—it is one of the best reasons for living abroad.
« Getting along: Bermudians are known for being easygoing and friendly, but adopting local customs is always a good way to show respect to your surroundings. Saying “good morning” or “good afternoon” before beginning a conversation is considered polite and proper, and it’s a great way to get a positive response that will surely make you feel welcome. Unconstructive criticism because things don’t happen exactly the same way they do “back home” won’t win you friends.