Bermuda: Finding employment:
You can make $70-$90K as a legal assistant but make sure you understand the cost of living. The costs of rent, groceries, gas, internet -- basically everything-- are some of the highest in the world. An apple costs $1.59 at the grocery store. A head of lettuce is $4.50. A litre of reconstituted milk is $5.50.
I found that, on one salary of $135,000 with my spouse unable to work because of work permit restrictions, we were unable to save any money. Make sure that both of you have jobs before you go or you might find yourselves with a lot less disposable income than you think.
Bermudajobboard.com is actually kind of useless. It exists as a Government requirement -- no "Non-Bermudian" can get a work permit for a job unless the job is advertised there first. But the employer often has someone in mind long before it shows up on that board. There are a very small number of law firms and plumbing companies in Bermuda; you could contact them all in a single day by phone or email to find out if they are considering hiring anyone.
Just FYI, lots of "Bermudian status" people apply to any job that has the word "assistant" or "secretary" in the title, even if they have no experience and no idea what a legal assistant does. When lots of locals apply for a job, it makes it much harder for the employer to get a work permit for a "Non-Bermudian". It helps if you have some sort of certificate or qualification to differentiate your application.
Also keep in mind that you can never, ever, ever obtain "Bermudian" status, no longer how long you live there. This means you will be subject to job discrimination for as long as you are there. You might be ok with that for 1, 2 or 3 years like I was, but eventually you will realize how ridiculous and unfair it is, and probably want to leave.
I know this email seems like a downer, but I think it's important to know what you are getting into and not just be attracted by the starting salary.
Bermuda: Nurse jobs in Bermuda:
You may have trouble getting a work permit with three school-aged kids. Bermuda Immigration has decided that the way to address school overcrowding is not to allow expats with large families into the country (although they are more likely to give exceptions if you work for the government, such as a nurse at the hospital).
You will automatically be refused unless your household remuneration is at least $125,000/ year.
Bermuda Hospitals Board (a government agency) hires nurses, so you could contact them directly. I suppose some of the elderly care homes also hire nurses, you could probably do an internet search and ask if they are looking for people.
There are plenty of restaurants so your husband should just contact restaurants there to see if they need help.
Remember that most of the "Help Wanted" ads in the Royal Gazette and Bermudajobboard.bm are published purely to comply with immigration laws and the employers already have someone lined up for the post they are advertising. So don't just stick to replying to those.
Bermuda schools are pretty useless so you should look into whether any private schools will take your kids and how much they cost (be warned: it's a lot).
Bermuda: Human rights:
Bermuda's new nationalist government has, as one of its first acts, made Bermuda's immigration law no longer subject to the Human Rights Act. While Bermuda's constitution has some protections against discrimination, the Human Rights Act is much more broad.
So now the Minister of Immigration can discriminate against anyone based on their religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or family status.
The government was elected in July. They had promised "comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform" during the election but clearly what they really wanted was fast-tracking laws without debate to discriminate against immigrants.
If this is any indication, we can expect a raft of more anti-immigrant laws and policies over the next 4-5 years.
I refer everyone to my previous post about Bermuda's very long list of restrictions against immigrants that make it impossible to live there normally. Under this new government, it is only going to get worse.
Bermuda: Work permit and minor convictions? Will my application be refused??:
You application will probably be refused. Bermuda's work permit guidelines imply that any criminal record is grounds for refusal. The Minister of Immigration has discretion to allow people with criminal records to obtain work permits but unless your potential boss is particularly well-connected, don't count on it.
British Virgin Islands: Suggestions on "Island Style" place to retire?:
In the Caribbean you will always have to balance cost of living with relative safety/run-down issues. Also you need to think about healthcare, especially if you have mobility issues. If you are on an island with only one hospital, you had better hope it can treat what you have.
If you are American citizens and run your business from the US, then you will still have to pay US income taxes, even if you live abroad (unless you renounce your citizenship).
Have you looked into Belize?
Bermuda: Should you move to Bermuda to work:
Bermuda is ok to work at if you just want a change of scene for 6 months or a year. It's lovely to spend evenings BBQing on the beach.
But if you want a longer term career, Bermuda is terrible, mostly because the island's immigration policies are ridiculous.
- most work permits are just one year, which means you never have job certainty for more than a few months. The longest possible permit is five years, and those are very rare.
- unless you marry a "Bermudian" you can NEVER become a permanent resident. That goes for your children born on the island too. So no matter how long you are there (some are there for decades), you know for sure you will be forced out eventually.
- even if you have a valid work permit, they will deport your children when they turn 18.
- expats are banned from owning a home, so you have to rent dumpy apartments at outrageous rates
- promotions require the same convoluted immigration approval as getting a job in the first place, so prepare to be passed over for someone less qualified
- expats are banned from owning more than 40% of a business, so you can never become your own boss
- the work permit only allows you to work one job and they are absurdly strict about it. If your co-worker is sick, forget about filling in for them for one day. If your garage band is asked to play at a wedding, you will have to decline as you don't have a work permit. If a friend asks you to help them move, a Bermudian nationalist might come up to you and ask if you have a work permit as a mover.
The cost of living is very high because of hidden taxes and the local monopolies that exist due to the anti-foreign ownership laws.
You also have to live with frequent water shortages (and buying large quantities of water is insanely expensive), lackadaisical pest control (so your $3000/month apartment gets infested with rats and roaches), as well as the usual inconveniences of living in an isolated part of the world. Oh, and don't forget the ritual humiliation and scam of expats known as the Bermuda Driving Test.
So unless you are getting paid two or three times what you would make elsewhere, Bermuda in the long term isn't worth it.
Bermuda: Chnage job:
I believe it is Bermuda government policy not to let expats change jobs in the first two years.
Bermuda: Customs Duty:
If they are personal items more than 6-months old, then you get a one-time exemption for moving to the island (I think it's within the first 3 months of moving).
After that is over, you can expect to pay a 35% customs duty on anything you import. So make sure you bring over everything you want at the beginning.
Leather furniture sitting out in a constantly air-conditioned room will be ok. But if you only use air conditioning on the hottest days, or if you put any leather in storage or a closet, it will almost certainly go mouldy.
Bermuda: Meeting other Expats:
I second the BMDS recommendation. Just go in to the bar one day and ask for a membership form. The barman was willing to sponsor my membership application. I went in there once or twice a week for cheap drinks and some friendly conversation.
Bermuda: US to Bermuda- single 40yr Female-Social/Dating:
This actually brings up an important point: that Bermuda has an unhealthy racial dynamic. You might not notice it at first, but as you start getting more familiar with the island's social scene you will notice a very strong tendency for the locals to self-segregate. It makes the pool of people who you get a chance to interact with even smaller than it otherwise would be on an island of only 60,000 people.