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Expat Advice: Working in Pembroke, Bermuda

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Pembroke

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

IT computers, accounting, law, reinsurance, banking, those as the big ones.

What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?

I do IT work and I found my job by going through Squire resources on the net.

How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?

I obtained my work permit through the company that hired me. Make sure you have all of your documentation available for HR and be patient -- it takes a long time. Temporary work permits are a real money maker for immigration. Also immigration is presently in a do-nothing mode, they won't do a thing if it isn't vital. In other words, if you're already working and your work permit is up for renewal, immigration is likely to let your work permit expire and leave you hanging for as long as they feel like it. Don't panic, but don't leave the island. Immigration wants people who can't wait for them to get off the wall to leave -- that way they don't have to deal with you any longer. It's like making a decision that never comes. As long as you're on the island, you're working and the company your working for is trying to get your work permit, you're OK. At my last job, I waited 6 months and two temporary work permits later before I got my 3 year permit. You just have to be massively patient.

Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?

No training on the culture or the language. Bermuda speaks English (sort of) and Bermudians speak their own language. They also stay to themselves and very rarely mix with expats. Be prepared to find people from your own country or you will spend a lot of time alone outside of work.

If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?

No and none, Bermuda companies don't do that. You're hired for your background and your knowledge. Bermuda companies go out of their way not to improve your condition while you're on the island and very few are interested in helping you when you leave. When your contract is up- it's up, make sure you stay current and you can prove it when you go back. You will be amazed at how little companies in Bermuda are interested in the improvement of their employee's. Remember you're a chair or a table, once you serve your purpose, you're discarded just as fast.

What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?

Be patient, don't get upset with Bermudian workers - their educational system stinks and it is reflected in some of the attitudes. They are nice people. Don't get involved in government - you have no rights to speak of so you will be wasting your time getting involved.

Don't voice your opinions out loud - you never know who is listening and how they will interpret what you say. Often, people will read your comments wrong. Watch who you hang out with, people from different cultures also have different moral and trust issues. You could end up in the wrong place.

Bermudians are not your friends, I have been to the island twice. I have some very good friends that I know from my own country. But, once you leave the building you work in, Bermudians are completely different people. They will be polite but in almost every case. The people you think are your friends will disappear once you leave the building or the job.

Get off the island once a year no matter what! Get off the island or you will go insane.

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