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Wealthy investors love idea of living in Bermuda

Investment programme brings 123 new residents
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In photo: Kyle Rogers, research and intelligence manager at the Bermuda Business Development Agency

It’s not just the business opportunities that have tempted affluent individuals into investing in Bermuda’s economy over the past three years.

The chance to live the dream on a paradise island is also playing a major part in the success of the Government’s Economy Investment Residential Certificates initiative, which gives residency rights to people who invest at least $2.5 million in Bermuda.

A total of 49 applications have been approved since 2021, according to the Bermuda Business Development Agency, equating to a total investment of $464 million in local businesses and real estate.

Those certificate-holders are required to spend at least 90 days on the island each year and have brought their families with them – meaning an extra 123 residents are now enjoying life in the middle of the Atlantic.

“Many of the applicants tell a similar story,” Kyle Rogers, research and intelligence manager at the BDA, said.

“They have travelled here regularly from a young age or have experienced a significant life event here and love the idea of being able to live here long term.

“Other applicants invest here because Bermuda is just a great place to do business. This includes the expertise of the quality service providers located here, our advantageous geographical location and sophisticated island lifestyle.”

Mr Rogers said EIRCs have proved most popular with high-net-worth individuals from the US, the UK and Canada – although people from Spain have invested the largest amount in total.

A breakdown of the figures shows $212 million has been invested in new businesses, $203 million in real estate and $49 million in existing businesses.

Twelve new applications were approved in the past nine months, representing about $40 million of new investment in real estate. Realtors say the programme has helped boost demand for luxury homes, a sector in which finding buyers can sometimes be a relatively slow process.

Mr Rogers said: “We continue to see strong levels of interest for new applications.

“We remain extremely optimistic about the long-term potential of the EIRC initiative and are proud of the role we have played thus far in creating economic growth.

“Bermuda has always been an exceptional place to live and do business. Since 2021, EIRC has provided high-net-worth individuals, and their families, with an opportunity to live here to see their investment prospects realised.”

Individuals can qualify for an EIRC by investing $2.5 million in:

  • Residential or commercial real estate
  • New Bermuda-based business or existing business excluding exempted undertakings
  • Bermuda Government bonds, Bermuda’s Sinking Fund or the Bermuda Trust Fund
  • A Bermudian-registered charity
  • Any social or practical venture that benefits the island as determined by the Minister of Economy and Labour.

Clients interested in applying for an EIRC certificate must submit a set of documents to help the BDA vet their identities, their sources of wealth and their sources of funds.

The vetting process also looks at the applicants’ originating country to identify anyone applying from high-risk countries with known Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing deficiencies.

Once all the necessary documents have been received, the completed application is submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Labour for review and approval, at which point the investor receives immediate residency rights.

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy and Labour, has said the Government launched the programme because it wanted to harness immigration as a tool for economic growth.

Mr Hayward has said individuals tend to invest much more than the minimum $2.5 million. The average investment per certificate works out at more than $9 million.

The Government believes affluent individuals appreciate Bermuda’s well-regulated business environment and that the programme’s success highlights global confidence in the island. This year, Bermuda added EIRC to its National Risk Assessment against AML and CTF.

The EIRC application process is confidential and anyone who wants to start should visit bda.bm/economic-investment-residential-certificate.

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