More than 400 'digital nomads' now in Bermuda
More than 400 'digital nomads' are now in Bermuda, Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister revealed yesterday.
Mr Dickinson gave the number as he wrapped up his statement for the 2021-22 Budget yesterday.
The one-year residential certificate programme was unrolled by the Ministry of Labour last year as Covid-19 swept the globe.
Mr Dickinson said the island would need to bring in more people, adding: “We must welcome newcomers not only to buy our groceries and use our services, but also to bring us new skills, knowledge and capital.”
It marked a sharp increase from the update given in December by Jason Hayward, the labour minister, who said the programme had brought in 244 people out of more than 500 applications approved.
“Expanding the resident population” stood as one of the six “priority initiatives” highlighted in the Budget.
The finance minister said: “More people means more economic activity, more knowhow, more diverse businesses, more for everyone.”
He said it extra numbers could also generate business competition and lower prices.
Cole Simons, the Opposition leader, called the scheme “innovative”, but he added: “Can they quantify the economic impact they have on this country?”
People and companies already on the island, and which had invested “hundreds of millions” here, needed to “feel welcome”, he said.
“A number of them feel as though they’re unwelcome, and they feel if they need employees after spending $100 million, they’re still getting the runaround.
“That’s not right. Especially if you are opening the door for the key of $2.5 million.” The figure was in reference to the economic investment certificate, a policy from the Ministry of Labour which comes into effect on March 1.
Under the policy, people from overseas who live in Bermuda and invest $2.5 million over five years can qualify for residency.
Mr Simons said he had heard of a long-term foreign resident in Bermuda who had invested $56 million in the island.
“They worked it out,” he said. “And yet they still can’t get some kind of permanent residency here.
“What are they doing for those local residents that are in Bermuda and have made the type of commitment that far exceeds $2.5 million?”