How to get a job in Bermuda
Published on July 6, 2021 by nilesh
About jobs in Bermuda
Are you a non-Bermudian and dreaming of a job in Bermuda? Yes it can get you the best of lifestyle that you had ever dreamt of. And such a lifestyle comes complemented with tax free and really high earnings. There is no income tax in Bermuda. Government taxes are mostly indirect in nature and are generally recovered from import of goods and not directly from the workers or professionals.
Bermuda is a tax haven and attracts thousands of expatriates to come here and work. In this 21 square mile tiny island, the resident population is about 65,000. The per square mile population density of Bermuda is one of the highest in the world. So do you think that such high population density reduces your job prospects? Actually no. Around 20% of the population are expatriates who are employed in Bermuda in private or public sectors. Foreign national employment in Bermuda is growing every year. Bermuda needs skilled resources that are scarce in the island. Update 2020: As per Bermuda Department of Statistics (Labor Force Survey), the average gross annual salary in main jobs (i.e. jobs where employees receive health insurance and pension benefits) in May-2019 was $64,234. Note that this is an average over all sectors and includes both Bermudians and non-Bermudians. Also note that a Bermudian is eligible to take up more than one day jobs in the island, but a non-Bermudian can not. If you are looking for a job in Bermuda as a foreigner, in general a middle management job should earn an average annual gross salary of $140,000 or above. At the lower end, a professional with basic degree and fewer years of experience should get not less than $75,000 per year. Senior leadership roles in International Business like in Insurance or Re-insurance sectors can earn hefty packages in Bermuda (several hundred thousand dollars) along with lot many perks and benefits.
Sectors offering most jobs
Bermuda is a small country and jobs are limited. Therefore one thing you must understand that the law in general requires that an eligible Bermudian is given a preference over any other national when a job opportunity pops us. And only when the employer is unable to find an eligible Bermudian to do the job, that the offer is extended to an eligible foreigner. So if you possess skills and/or experience that employers need for their functions and which is lacking in the island, you have a good chance of getting a job in Bermuda. And if that is further complemented by the fact that such skills and experience are important for Bermuda's growth and development, then chances are even higher. Bermuda's finance sector, particularly the insurance and the re-insurance sectors are major force of its economy. The companies here have high demands for skilled employees, and Bermuda's supply of such skills and experience are limited. So the job opportunities for overseas nationals in such areas are high. Many companies from such sectors are consistently the top employers both in terms of salary and job profiles. Sectors like IT, Accounting etc that are today main support functions to most modern companies, also offer good job prospects to overseas nationals. Another major economic force in Bermuda is tourism. The hospitality sector like hotels and restaurants also come up with good number of job opportunities for chefs, management staffs etc, although this sector has started seeing more and more intake from the local population. Check out Bermuda Employment Opportunities to know about the different types of job opportunities in Bermuda and what may be the right match for you.
Restricted or Closed Jobs
There are however jobs or functional areas which are restricted or completely closed to foreign nationals. This is because the island has adequate human resources for such areas. Restricted jobs require certain special terms and conditions to be met by applicant and also needs approval from the ministry before a job can be offered. The closed sectors are usually not available to foreigners. Check out Restricted and Closed Sectors for details.
Basic Requirements for a job
For a professional job, a bachelor degree is expected at the minimum. Higher degrees like Masters, Doctorate etc are given clear preference. Average annual gross salary for an IT professional with 7-10 years of experience can be $80,000 - $95,000, a middle management role in International Business (like reinsurance companies) will command about $150,000. It varies depending on your profession and level of experience. For senior management roles the packages can be much higher. In any case, the employer has to justify to Bermuda's Department of Immigration and explain why they need an employee from an overseas country and for how long. And accordingly a work permit is issued by the department. So a non-Bermudian requires a Work Permit to work in Bermuda. The employer makes an application for work permit and it is issued by Bermuda's Department of Immigration. Earlier the work permit was issued for a short period and there was a maximum term limit beyond which it could not be renewed. Recently the term limit has been removed. But that doesn't mean a non-Bermudian employee can get a permanent residency in Bermuda. The employer would still need to specify a period for the work permit and pay up the work permit fees to the government accordingly (the fee depends on the period). However the work permit period can be later extended, if required.
How to find and apply for a job in Bermuda
Let's understand how to go about applying for a job in Bermuda. One thing for sure, do not try to apply for a job while you are in Bermuda as a tourist. This will be a futile exercise and no employer is likely to entertain that. The policy requires that you should apply while you are outside Bermuda and preferably in your own home country. An exception is when you relocate with your spouse to Bermuda who has a job and a work permit in the island. In such a case, being a spouse of an expat, you can look for your own job and get your own work permit. A good option is to use the professional services of Recruitment Agencies who specialize and deal with job placements in Bermuda. Sometimes such hiring agencies are a much better option if you can not find a job advertisement that matches your profile. More importantly, the recruitment agency can handle a lot of logistics and other documentation matters that may otherwise be difficult for you to handle from your own country. They also know the exact process involved and help you to stay on track with the job application. They usually do not take any fees from the candidate. They get their commission from the employer once they successfully complete the placement. So the hiring agencies too will have as much interest as yourself to place you in a company in Bermuda. In fact this is usually the most effective option for foreigners looking for a job in Bermuda. Here is another option... Employers advertise their available jobs in Bermuda's daily The Royal Gazette. You can also see such job openings online at the Jobs section of Royal Gazette website. Full job descriptions are given along with employer details and their contact info so that you can directly apply. The local website jobsinbda.com claims to list all currently available jobs in Bermuda that have been publicly advertised. You can scan through the list of available jobs or search with keywords or location within Bermuda to find a suitable job and apply directly to the employer. If you are legally allowed or authorized to work in Bermuda (e.g. you are a Bermudian or spouse of a Bermudian, a Permanent Resident Card holder or you have Minister's express consent to work), then your first step should be to register yourself online at Bermuda Job Board which is part of Bermuda's Department of Workforce Development. Effective March 2015, all employers in the island are required to submit and display all their open jobs at Bermuda Job Board and keep them live for a minimum of 8 days. Note that the Job Board portal is not an aide for those outside Bermuda to secure employment on the island. However it is still a useful tool even for non-Bermudians to scan through open job listings and then engage a hiring agency to apply for a suitable job. Bermuda Job Board keeps listing the jobs along with job title, names of employers, number of openings, deadlines etc. Once you register yourself (if eligible) with your details including country, contacts, experience level, profile etc, you can then apply for a job through this website. In fact you can filter and see job listings in several ways... by job category, job status (like part-time or full-time), job type (like contract, permanent, intern etc) or even by career level (like entry level, managerial jobs, executive jobs, CEO/COO level jobs etc). You should keep a close watch on the open job list and act as soon as a job matching your profile shows up. Once you apply and subject to suitability, the employers will directly contact you and take your interview. Bermuda Job Board does not get involved in the hiring process. Finding the right job While you may get a good salary, there are many hidden factors that can have a lot of bearing on your expenses and day to day living cost like the travel costs, housing, medical insurance and such. So the Job Terms and Conditions are extremely important and you should negotiate such terms with your employer to address them properly. Remember depending on your job profile, almost all employers have different degrees of flexibility when it comes to accommodating your personal requirements. So you must negotiate if you see some key areas like medical insurance and housing etc are not adequately addressed in your job offer.
Can an expat's spouse get a job?
As per the law, visitors who have arrived in Bermuda as tourists or for other business work are not offered jobs / work permits. However your spouse or partner can apply for a job and he/she will need a separate work permit to work in Bermuda. Ideally your spouse should get a job and a work permit before arriving in Bermuda, rather than trying for one after coming to Bermuda and be in uncertainty. Because as per the law, an eligible Bermudian will always be given preference in a job over a non-Bermudian. Secondly, due to the prevailing job market conditions in Bermuda and unemployment issues, it is quite likely that priority of offering a second job to an expat family would be low. So scouting around for a job while in the island can be a frustrating and futile exercise. Also note that if an accompanying spouse of a work permit holder gets a job in Bermuda, his/her stay in the island would be determined by the work permit of the original job holder. If the original work permit expires or the original job holder has to give up the job and return home, then the work permit of the spouse too would become invalid and he/she too would need to leave the island.
Working in Bermuda - What to expect
While working and living in Bermuda has many positives (such as enjoying the lovely beaches, being part of a friendly and welcoming culture, living a great lifestyle etc), there are some downsides as well. And the biggest of all factors is the high cost of living, and there are more... Check out Pros and Cons of Working in Bermuda to know about the aspects that may not be apparent but do play critical roles in your work and personal life. While you can't get best of all the worlds, the positives of working in Bermuda do outweigh the negatives. While the earning is high in Bermuda, so is the spending. Bermuda's Cost of living is easily one of the highest in the world. That's because almost everything is imported here including food. There are hardly any direct Taxes in Bermuda like income tax. If you are employed, you just pay a small payroll tax. The island is known as a tax haven for all. No wonder so many international businesses have set up their offshore operations here and are making major contributions to Bermuda's Economy. Having secured a job in Bermuda and the work permit, your next step would be to plan for relocating to Bermuda. You will find that people of Bermuda are specially very warm and hospitable. Even the employer will welcome you and make you feel at home. But on the other hand you will need to deal with so many unknown conditions in a new country. Check out Living in Bermuda to know how to prepare yourself for the move.