Non-Bermudians have a chance to become a long-term resident in Bermuda if they invest a minimum of US$2.5 million in the island. A non-Bermudian is classed as “a restricted person under immigration law and must apply for a licence before they can buy property.
Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward, on Friday, 19 February 2021, unveiled the new economic investment certificate policy, which will come into force from March 1.
The investment can include real estate, Bermuda Government bonds, a contribution to the island’s sinking fund for debt reduction or the Bermuda Trust Fund, as well as charity. However, the new deal has been criticised by the main opposition party, One Bermuda Alliance.
Shadow Labour Minister Jarion Richardson said long-term residents who had already invested much of their lives in the island had been left out in the cold.
Hayward said investors could also contribute to an existing business, launch new businesses, or “invest in such other social or useful ventures that benefit Bermuda, Bermudians and things Bermudian, as may be determined by the minister.”
He told legislators that investors would be able to apply for a residential certificate, which would give additional rights, after five years.
The legislators were told that “affluent individuals from around the world” wanted to live in places meeting criteria such as safety, rule of law, and “a place where they feel comfortable with their children.”
Hayward said that, “these individuals and their families have the means to make significant financial investments, develop businesses, and create job opportunities, which can benefit Bermudians.” “Bermuda must take advantage of these opportunities.”
Hayward said a US$2,625 fee would be charged for the certificate. Adding that, “the Government has established a concierge service to facilitate the submission and approval process, as appropriate for the affluent investors targeted.” The certificate will not give holders the right to vote in general elections in Bermuda.
Hayward, who is also a former union leader, warned the island in January that major immigration changes were needed to stop the island from “falling off the fiscal cliff.” He said that Bermuda had to use immigration to create economic growth in the face of an ageing population and shrinking workforce.
“If Bermuda is going to better her fiscal situation, we must all embrace the bold steps needed to confront the situation,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exhilarated Bermuda’s national debt close to $3 billion.