Bermuda may try to attract remote workers
A policy that would allow international remote workers to base themselves in Bermuda temporarily is being considered by the Government.
Barbados has signalled its intention to offer a one-year stay to those working digitally for employers in different countries.
In response to questions from The Royal Gazette, a Bermuda Government spokesman said yesterday that Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, “is aware of the Barbados Government's proposal to allow visitors to work remotely in Barbados for a year at a time and is considering how a similar policy could benefit Bermuda”.
In Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister, has put forward the idea as the Caribbean island prepares to reopen its borders next week.
The initiative, branded as the Barbados Welcome Stamp, has come in response to the fall in tourism, an industry that represents 40 per cent of the island's gross domestic product and employs 30 per cent of its workforce.
In a statement Ms Mottley said: “You don't need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back.”
In an interview with Sky News, Ms Mottley said: “Covid-19 has presented tremendous challenges to those countries that are tourism and travel-dependent and we have reached a position where we recognise that part of the challenge relates to short-term travel.
“So, if we can have a mechanism that allows people who want to take advantage of being in a different part of the world, of the sun, sea and sand, and a stable society; one that functions well, then Barbados is a perfect place for you to come.
“Rather than coming for the usual week, or three weeks or a month, why not plan out your business, given the fact that all we have gotten from Covid-19 is uncertainty. So, we can give you certainty for the next 12 months … and you can work from here.”
She added that remote workers would be accommodated in villas, condominiums, hotel rooms and rental houses and added that workspaces would be available for those interested.
Details of the initiative will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Over the past three months, many companies around the world have switched to virtual operations amid restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The success of videoconferencing technology has led many to want to continue to work from home. Some large companies are prepared to accommodate it.
Facebook, for example, has said it expects as many as half of its employees to transition to working from home within the next five to ten years.
Some have proposed that Bermuda could also roll out the welcome mat to attract remote workers and high-net-worth individuals as an attractive location for those looking to flee cities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an article in The Royal Gazette last week, the idea found support from realtors Penny MacIntyre and Brian Madeiros, as well as Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, who urged the Government to look into attracting remote workers to boost the local economy.
“There is an opportunity for Bermuda if we can give them something that allows us to get these people here,” Mr Gosling said.
“They would not be engaging in local business at all, they would be entirely exempt, so there should be no issue there.
“But it would help us to bring in added numbers to help support Bermudian businesses. Some may look for some temporary office space as well, if we can get those people down here.”