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New tech firm to set up shop in Bermuda

Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A data and software firm is to move 90 of its staff to the island under the Bermuda Government’s one-year “digital nomad” residential certificate scheme, it was revealed today.

Jason Hayward, the labour minister, said that Afiniti International Holdings, which is headquartered in Bermuda, would also take on ten Bermudian staff – and planned to build up its permanent presence on the island.

Mr Hayward said the one-year residency certificate programme, which allows workers from overseas to take advantage of the island’s low Covid-19 rates and operate from Bermuda, has had 442 certificates approved out of 557 applications.

He added: “The certificate, along with Bermuda’s economic substance legislation, has demonstrated its ability to invite not only individuals or families, but medium to large size companies as well.”

Afiniti, an artificial intelligence company, includes Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, among its board of directors.

Mr Hayward said most of the staff who would come to the island were from Pakistan and would “work at home in Bermuda while the company goes through the process of applying for traditional work permits”.

He said: “If successful, the work permits will allow the immediate transfer of staff to the local company.

“The work permit applications will be for individuals highly skilled in the specialised field of artificial intelligence. This is extremely good news for Bermuda.”

Mr Hayward said Afiniti “anticipates significant growth in its work force”, and that in time it planned to be 50 per cent Bermudian.

The company was set up to develop artificial intelligence technology for use in call centres.

Mr Hayward said: “It’s worth noting that Afiniti requires no financial incentives, and expects to generate immediate increases in government fiscal revenues.

“Their investment in Bermuda at this time, speaks volumes about our infrastructure, geographic location, and is a testament to this Government’s ability to create an environment that is attractive to companies such as this.

“I’m sure we all look forward to more companies following Afiniti’s lead. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I look forward to welcoming the Afiniti team to Bermuda, and ask that we be open to the possibilities this opportunity and others will present.”

Applicants for the one-year residency certificate are eligible to move to the island as soon as they get approved.

Mr Hayward did not have figures on the number of remote workers who had moved to the island, but said he would release further details “in the coming weeks”.

He added the Government was also “welcoming any renewals” of the certificates.

Afiniti, a privately held company, was valued at $1.6 billion in 2017.

As well as Dame Jennifer, board members include Jose Maria Aznar, the former president of Spain, former United States Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Larry Babbio, a former president of Verizon.

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Published October 29, 2020 at 6:18 pm (Updated October 29, 2020 at 6:17 pm)

New tech firm to set up shop in Bermuda

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