Labour Minister Jason Hayward says Bermuda plans to follow Barbados and introduce a one-year residential certificate to enable non-residents to work remotely on the island.
It is expected to come into effect in the first week of August, legislators heard in the House of Assembly on Friday.
Non-Bermudian post-secondary students will also be able to study remotely from the island.
The certificates — at a cost of US$263 — will be eligible for individuals of good character who are over the age of 18 and can supply proof of employment, as well as health insurance.
Hayward said the maximum stay period for visitors generally would also be extended from 90 days to 180 days.
Over the past three months, many companies around the world have switched to virtual operations amid restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 health crisis had a significant impact on the local economy resulting in mass unemployment and decreased economic activity,” Hayward said.
“Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and is something the Bermuda government has been examining as part of its technology-focused economic diversification strategy. ”— Bermuda’s Labour Minister Jason Hayward
He said the Government seeks to offer this new one-year residential certificate to qualifying individuals to extend visitor stays in Bermuda and by doing so increase the residential population, increase economic activity, provide greater job security for Bermudians and enhance the marketability of Bermuda as a place to reside, visit, or do business.
“There are persons who are location-independent, using technology to perform their job no matter where they are. Such persons work remotely, telecommuting rather than being physically present at a company’s headquarters or office.
“Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and is something the Bermuda government has been examining as part of its technology-focused economic diversification strategy.
“The trend towards remote working has been accelerated by COVID-19. These visitors can reside in Bermuda without seeking employment on the island and will promote economic activity for our country without displacing Bermudians in the workforce,” Hayward added:
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley had earlier signalled her Administration’s intention to offer a one-year stay to those working digitally for employers in different countries.
The initiative, branded as the Barbados Welcome Stamp, came in response to the fall in tourism, an industry that represents 40 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product and employs 30 per cent of its workforce.