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Government drops five-year waiting period for EIC holders

Easing requirements for Economic Investment Certificate-holders may encourage more investment in Bermuda real estate and businesses. (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Government has dropped a requirement that economic investors in Bermuda have to wait five years after making their initial investment to get a Residential Certificate.

Announcing the change, which will take place at the end of March, Jason Hayward, the economy and labour minister, said the move was being made to reverse the trend to an ageing population.

He said under the existing policy, applicants are granted an Economic Investment Certificate after investing at least $2.5 million in Bermuda through a variety of means including investing in Bermuda companies or buying Bermuda real estate.

The EIC gives them the right to live in Bermuda for five years at which time they are eligible to apply for a Residential Certificate.

Mr Hayward said EIC applicants will now be eligible for the Residential Certificate when they make their initial investment.

He also revealed that the EIC holders will now be able to buy condominiums owned by Bermudians, who have been restricted from selling them to non-Bermudians.

Speaking in the House, Mr Hayward said since the policy was introduced in 2019, EIC holders had invested $371.6 million in Bermuda, of which $113.4 million was in real estate.

This represents a slight increase since December when he said 27 applications were approved representing 71 people and a total investment of $369 million.

Mr Hayward did not provide a more detailed breakdown yesterday, but said generally people invest much more than the minimum.

Qualifying investments

Investors can qualify for an EIC by investing at least $2.5 million in one of the following areas:

1, Purchase Bermuda real estate (residential or commercial)

2, Invest in the development and launch of a new Bermuda-based business

3, Purchase Bermuda Government bonds

4, Contribute to Bermuda's Sinking Fund

5, Contribute to the newly established Bermuda Trust Fund

6, Donate to a Bermuda-registered charity

7, Make a direct or indirect equity investment in an existing Bermuda-based business, excluding exempted undertakings

8, Invest in such other social or practical venture that benefits Bermuda, as may be determined by the minister

On the policy change, Mr Hayward said: “It has been determined that Bermuda’s ageing population will have significant implications on the Island’s economic growth if steps are not taken to reverse this demographic trend.

“For this reason, the 2021 Economic Investment Certificate and Residential Certificate Policy has been revised, to allow the Minister to grant a Residential Certificate, pursuant to subsection 32(5) of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act, without the need to wait five years after an Economic Investment Certificate has been granted.

“The primary intention of this policy change is to increase and sustain economic activity and to create jobs in Bermuda.”

He said the rights and restrictions under this policy would not apply to people who hold Residential Certificates under the 2015 or 2003 Residential Certificate policies.

More information on the policy can be found on the Bermuda Business Development Agency website: https://www.bda.bm/economicinvestment-certificate/

Asked by Opposition MP Scott Pearman why the rights were not being granted to those who came in under the 2003 and 2015 policies, Mr Hayward said the earlier recipients did not have to demonstrate investment in the community whereas the 2021 investors had put in at least $2.5 million.

• UPDATE: this story has been amended to make clear that holders of an Economic Investment Certificate can apply for a Residential Certificate, and not the Permanent Resident’s Certificate

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Published February 28, 2023 at 8:02 am (Updated February 28, 2023 at 8:52 pm)

Government drops five-year waiting period for EIC holders

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