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Rentals, work, crime, import duty, hindsight...and many more!

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paradisebound
4/22/2015 13:29 EST

Hi All

I have read page after page on this forum with great interest, but feel I still have so many questions in preparation for our move to Nassau from the UK this July! Many of the questions have been asked before, but I've noticed that many of the replies have been in PMs so I've not quite found all of the answers I was looking for.

By way of background, my husband has recently secured a job at St Andrews school and will be starting this August. I am currently an Insolvency lawyer in England, and don't yet have a job to move to. I understand that it is very difficult for trailing spouses to secure jobs/work permits, but I'm willing to give it a good go! Whilst I have several years experience, I only qualified in October last year and so I am told that I would be better to find something once I'm there rather than to use a recruitment agent (partly due to their fees and partly due to abundance of lawyers already working in the Bahamas). Accordingly, my questions are as follows:

1. On the basis that my husband will be based in the East and (hopefully) when I find employment it's likely to be in downtown Nassau, which area would you recommend we focus our housing search (we're looking for a secure 2 bed apartment in a gated community with pool access)? I have read that the commute to downtown from the East is horrendous and that most ex-pats seem to live in the West, would this be a realistic commute to St Andrews? (Please note that we only intend to buy one car and whilst I'm content to use public transport, I anticipate that I will no doubt have to work very long hours and would only be content with this if the public transport is safe enough (and reliable) to use after dark.

2. I'm told that finding an apartment without engaging a realtor will be cheaper, are there any recommended websites that aren't run by realtors to source one, or are we best waiting until we get there? Please note, since we don't know what my income will be (if any) we are limiting our budget to $2k and there appears to be very little inventory for this online.

3. If anyone here does work in law or insolvency, what are typical hours like in the Bahamas and should I expect similar annual leave as in the UK (circa 4 weeks) or is it more like the US with 2 weeks per year?

4. Given the climate, do people still wear business suite to work? (we're trying to clear out anything we won't need!)

5. I've read a lot about safety/crime, but again many of the responses to women with these questions appear to be in PMs. We live in Manchester, so I'm very aware as far as city living goes, however should I be nervous about travelling home from work after dark, or indeed out and about on my own during the day outside of our residential community?

6. In terms of deciding what to bring, we're hoping to just fill suitcases and pay for extras if necessary and bring mostly clothes. Are there any other particular items that you took from home that you were really pleased you did, or conversely didn't take and really wish you had, particularly with regard to the high cost of goods in the Bahamas versus the high cost of shipping/import duty?

7. Similarly, I've read so much about the import duty - will they really charge us 40% of the original cost of our used clothes? Will they go as far as to charge import for things like wedding/engagement rings or is that just taking it too far? I looked at the list published on the government website and saw that it goes into such detail as to include pens etc, I just can't imagine this really being the case!

8. Anything you know now about moving that you wish you knew before??

Thank you for taking the time to read. I should be grateful for any advice you can give!

Fisherman
4/23/2015 10:36 EST

A few answers for you. You will not be stuck(much) for the duty on used personal effects. They will not be checking wedding rings.
Using a real estate agent will increase your costs by a lot. Ask around and you will get a better deal.
The bar association has their field locked to Bahamian citizens only.
You my find a job as an assistant
in a legal firm but salary will be minimal. Your vehicle will be expensive an duty and fees will be over 90%.
Public trans for an x-pat female is a no go at any-time in Nassau.
I wish you luck but I think you should spend time here before you ship everything. We have a tiny population and 45 murders (classified) so far this year.
home invasion is happening with greater frequency than ever before.The cost of living has sky-rocketed since VAT was introduced this year.
Good luck to you.

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bergie
4/23/2015 10:44 EST

I agree with Fisherman, I would not ship a container here until you know you are going to enjoy being here and be here for awhile. We only brought 5 suitcases with my husband and I and plan on being here about 2 years. Everything is furnished so just bring clothes, and some things to make your place feel like yours. Don't bring a car in, buy one locally.

sdamazo
4/24/2015 09:53 EST

What about living on isolated islands as San Salvador, is it as dangerous as you said?


Looking forward to a very honest reply since I want to buy land there or nearby

sdamazo
4/24/2015 09:54 EST

What about living on isolated islands as San Salvador, is it as dangerous as you said?


Looking forward to a very honest reply since I want to buy land there or nearby

VATlady
4/26/2015 14:14 EST

I am a professional that moved here last fall. I am here on a work permit but my spouse is not permitted to work. He is now retired fortunately. Although I work on the east end of Bay Street, we decided to get a residence in the west end since most expats live out here and the crime is much lower. Most crime and murders are occurring on the east end - particularly near Fox Hill Road, Soldier Road, Carmichael Street area.

We purchased a used vehicle when we got here and I use it for work. My husband uses the #10 bus occasionally but only during daylight hours.

We are living in a gated community for security reasons.

We brought with us clothes, some kitchen ware, linens and a few personal effects to make it feel like home. We bought a gas barbeque once we arrived here. We paid about $1,900 US$ for customs duty on the items we brought over and saved a fair bit by itemizing in detail the pieces in our container. We hired a local mover to clear the goods for us and deal with all the import matters. He charged only $500 including the costs of delivering the pallet to our townhouse.

If you were to choose a place to reside on the east end, look for only a gated community (Treasure Cove, Palm Cay, etc) and use extreme caution when you are out at night and which roads you travel on.

If you choose the west end, you can get to St. Andrew's school within 30 to 45 minutes and it may be worth the commute time so you have a better quality of life.

As for work life here, most professionals are not working the long hours that we experience in North America. The office apparel is very business like - it's rare to see casual Fridays. Suits and dresses on women is commonplace.

Plan to get a cable/phone/internet package from either BTC or Cable Bahamas. Both offer bundled packages for a reasonable cost. I use Cable Bahamas and it includes 600 minutes a month for calls back home free of charge.

When looking into rentals, ask about the monthly cost of electricity and if the maintenance fee/condo fee is on top of the rent. Electricity can be almost as much as the rent if you are not careful. We have managed to keep our electricity costs quite low by managing how much we use our A/C.

Hope these tips help!

allianz international health insurance

For expats in Bahamas, choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our partner, Allianz Care. Their plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Allianz Care's flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget.

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breija
4/29/2015 09:05 EST

I have sent you a PM

paradisebound
5/11/2015 09:11 EST

Thanks all for taking the time to provide some very helpful answers!

We're a step closer having now booked our flights and will be leaving England on 21 July (only 71 days to go!!). We've upgraded to allow ourselves extra luggage and have decided that the only things we will be bringing must fit into our 6 suitcases as we're not going to ship anything and will buy a car when we arrive.

I still feel torn on the agent/no agent point to find an apartment, but we're going to wait until we get there then at least we can see what we're getting!

Thanks Fisherman re your comment on working as a lawyer - I will do (almost) anything and for less pay if it means I'm not stuck home all day! Whilst I appreciate the cost of living has increased with the introduction of VAT, I'm hopeful that it may have also created some revenue-related jobs, having spent several years working for HMRC in England...every cloud!

VATlady - I'm leaning towards doing the same (living in the West and commuting East) for safety reasons, but the much longer commute is a little off-putting (at least until I find a job as I'll be dropping hubby off at St Andrews and collecting him so I can get around with the car during the day).

Thanks for the advice on office attire - at least I know to hang on to my current work wardrobe! I'm more than used to the long hours you mentioned so that shouldn't be a problem.

You've all been extremely helpful and I can't wait for the move!

Thanks :)

breija
5/11/2015 11:35 EST

Hi paradisebound,

I sent you a PM addressing many of these issues as well. Take a look through it as I have offered some other thoughts for you to consider. Countdown has begun!

mgo
5/11/2015 11:44 EST

Hi

I moved here from the London a few years ago and I have lived East and love it. If you want to live in a gated community try Palm Cay (new with a beautiful beach and club house) or Treasure Cove or Port New Providence. They are all right next St Andrews. Everyone here is really friendly and its really easy to make friends.

casalibre
5/11/2015 12:41 EST

CABLE BEACH is very safe, especially near the bahamar and breezes.

Pocahontis
5/12/2015 10:48 EST

Hi mgo, so nice to hear some good things after reading so much bad and scarey stuff. My husband has the opportunity to work in Bahamas and myself and my 7 year old son would relocate wih him . Currently we live in Brighton, UK. Ive been a bit alarmed by the info on here about violent crime & murders!! 45 so far his year!!! Dont think here is even a quarter of that in Brighton in one whole year.
What do you think, is the move worth it, is it a sunshine paradise with good opportunity to make friend's and socialise? What line of work are u in? My husband is in construction.

rwhb1
5/27/2015 09:59 EST

I have just been offered a Government post. How do we find resonable rented in the areas above without getting ripped off by agents? Is a sea view or access feasible in a gated community for $2-3000 per month?

Russ

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