Individuals will now be able to obtain the right to reside in Bermuda in return for making an economic investment in the island, under the new Economic Investment Certificate and Residential Certificate policy recently announced by the Minister of Labour. This is the Government's latest immigration initiative aimed at increasing economic activity in Bermuda, following the creation of the 12-month 'Work from Bermuda' certificate last year.
Under the new Policy, which comes into effect on 1 March 2021, successful applicants will be granted an Economic Investment Certificate ("EIC"), giving them (and their spouse and any dependent children) the right to reside in Bermuda for five years. Eligibility is conditional on, amongst other things, the applicant making an investment of at least $2.5 million in one or more of the following:
- an existing Bermuda-based business;
- the development and launch of a new Bermuda-based business;
- residential or commercial real estate in Bermuda;
- Bermuda Government bonds;
- a Bermuda Registered charity in the areas of sports development, youth, seniors and health;
- the Bermuda Trust Fund or Sinking Fund; or
- such other social or useful venture that benefits Bermuda, Bermudians and things Bermudian as may be determined by the Minister responsible for Immigration.
The EIC holder will also be given automatic approval to work for any business in which they have invested, but their family members will still require a work permit if they wish to be employed in Bermuda.
Once an EIC is granted, the holder must maintain a qualifying investment at the minimum threshold for at least five years and must also reside in Bermuda for a minimum of 90 days each year.
After five years, the EIC holder will be eligible to apply for a Residential Certificate, enabling them and their family to reside in Bermuda indefinitely.
The new Policy is designed to promote direct investment in the economy and the possibility of automatic work permit approval should make it attractive to the working population. This is in contrast to the existing Residential Certificate Policy that is being replaced, which is targeted at retirees. In addition the other attractive features Bermuda has to offer - its optimal mid-Atlantic location, high standard of living and existing business infrastructure, amongst others - the new Policy should further incentivise affluent persons to move their families and businesses to Bermuda. Persons already residing in Bermuda who satisfy the criteria can also apply.
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