A section of Hamilton, capital of Bermuda. (File photo)

Remote workers boost Bermuda economy

A section of Hamilton, capital of Bermuda. (File photo)

In its first 12 months, the Work From Bermuda (WFB) programme has pumped some BD$23 million into the economy.

Labour Minister Jason Hayward, in making the announcement, indicated that 638 people took up the scheme, 206 families are still living on the island as a result, and in October, 74 WFB certificate holders were approved for a further one-year extension.

Bermuda Labour Minister Jason Hayward (File photo)

The initiative, which was launched in August last year, allowed people to apply for a one-year residential certificate to work remotely from Bermuda, in an effort to stimulate the economy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. It was aimed at people who can financially sustain themselves and was also offered to students.

According to Hayward, the figure was reached by studying the minimum expenditure for one to live in Bermuda and the potential expenditure of certificate holders. These include housing, food, basic amenities and utilities.

To date 1,081 applications have been received and 937 were approved.

Remote working (Photo: Caymanian Times)

The minister further stated that the scheme has also boosted the country’s real estate market and has presented an opportunity for a short-term stay to blossom into a long-term investment.

He disclosed that one WFB certificate holder has invested over BD$2.5 million into the economy, and has thereby been converted into an economic investment certificate holder.

Under Bermuda’s new Economic Investment Certificate and Residential Certificate Policy, non-Bermudian individuals who invest at least BD$2.5 million in the island receive the right to live in Bermuda along with a path to long-term residency after a period of five years.

Unlike previous policies, successful applicants also receive automatic approval to work.

After that period, holders are then eligible to apply for the Residential Certificate. If successful, they will have the right to reside in Bermuda indefinitely with their dependents. The new policy came into effect March 2021.

Tourism-dependent Caribbean countries that were hit hard by the pandemic are taking advantage of the rise in the travel trend by offering extended visas to remote workers in a bid to inject money into their economies.

Other islands offering remote-work-and-stay programmes include Jamaica, The Bahamas, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic.

Aruba also offers a remote work programme for visitotrs to the Dutch-speaking island. (File photo)

Several destinations’ remote work plans tout features like strong internet connectivity and stays of up to a year or more.