Relocating from Canada to Bermuda
Dean Dugas, Head of International Recruitment at Pro-Tax, caught up with Jiali, a Canadian national who recently moved to Bermuda to join KPMG's global mobility tax practice. The Q&A below might prove useful if you are considering relocating to Bermuda for the next stage of your tax career. To browse tax jobs in Bermuda please click here.
Salary to Cost of living – how much do you get for your money?
The cost of living in Bermuda is ranked consistently in the top 3 (if not top 1) in the world. Housing and electricity are what will kill your budget. The housing market is very small and choices are very limited considering we are on a small island with only approximately 66,000 people. However, the salary you receive is adapted to the higher living cost so you shouldn’t be worried about making ends meet living on the island. Despite what people think, we do pay tax here. However, we do have low tax rates for payroll tax.
How's the quality of life?
Island life is completely different from what you can experience in any metropolis. Entertainment is limited. There are not that many bars and only a couple of nightclubs. That’s about it. Also, everything closes on Sunday. You need to entertain yourself by doing some outdoor activities such as golfing, sailing, rowing, scuba diving etc. There are sports teams (e.g. softball, rugby, field hockey) that you can join as well.
How easy is it to make friends?
We have a huge expat group. You probably know most people within a couple of months as we are on such a small island.
Are the local amenities of a good quality?
We have everything but they all cost a bit more on this island. Again, your salary is already adjusted.
In terms of transportation, a scooter is a common form of transport here. I had no experience og driving motorcycles before I came, but I was able to pass the test and get a scooter within weeks. I use it for my commute every day.
Whats the quality and cost of housing like?
We normally get paid in BMD which is about 1:1 to USD. As indicated earlier, housing is where you spend most of the money. One-bedroom would cost you $2000+ easily, plus several hundred more on electricity and internet. You may pay a bit less if living in a house with other roommates.
How's the weather and overall climate?
The humidity is damaging all year round. You need a dehumidifier to battle the mould. Summer is very hot, especially with nearly 100% humidity. Winter tends to be around 15-20 Celsius which is quite comfortable. There is also hurricane season between June and early November every year. Most of the houses built on the island are made of stone with shuts so they will withstand high winds.
How easy is it fitting in regarding Culture / Value / Religion?
It’s a small friendly neighbourhood and everyone seems to know each other. There is no problem fitting in as everyone is helpful and approachable.
Are there any challenges in setting up a bank account, phone, renting a place etc?
Your employer will provide an employment letter for you to take to the bank to open an account. Salary is paid by direct deposit so HR should be able to provide detailed guidance on how to set up a bank account. In my case, HR helped me set up an appointment with the bank and referred me to several real estate agents.
What are the most difficult things to get used to coming from Canada?
Sometimes you may feel isolated and trapped. It is a small island in the middle of Atlantic Ocean after all. A lot of expats would fly out every a couple of months to get a break. There are direct flights from Bermuda to Canada, US and UK every day so getting away for several days isn't a problem.