Moving to Bermuda

The tiny North Atlantic island of Bermuda is just 137 square kilometres (53 square miles) in size and those moving there will find that nowhere is further than a mile from the ocean. The sea is characterised by a turquoise clarity washing across pink sand and the island, in many ways, is as like paradise as one might envision.

Hamilton, the capital, has an attractive combination of local shops and international businesses, which are often busy with tourists. The country's economy is dependent on the financial services industry which means that of the 65,000+ population about 20,000 are expats holding work permits. As a British Overseas Territory the official language of Bermuda is English, but it has its own parliament, separate laws and a US-style health service covered by employer’s health insurance.

The culture of Bermuda is a blend of British, Caribbean and American. Manners are highly rated and the population is generally friendly and welcoming. Crime rates are low, though when there is violence it is widely reported, perhaps distorted by a parochial volume of news.

The cost of living in Bermuda is high. Aside from small-scale farming of fruit, vegetables and corn, most foodstuffs are imported and the duties passed on to the consumer. To balance this, pay scales are higher and there are favourable tax regulations. When negotiating a remuneration package, expats should bear in mind that household expenses in Bermuda may be three times those in the USA and double the average UK costs.

Outside work, the lifestyle choices centre around water (boating, snorkelling, diving, fishing) and golf (nine courses with generally expensive club membership). In the summer, Bermuda’s weather can be too humid to do anything strenuous − a home with air conditioning is an essential, not a luxury. The winters, however, are balmy.

Charities and volunteering are huge on the island and opportunities are numerous for the trailing spouse. The island has churches of many denominations, but caters less well for non-Christian religions.

The standard of education in Bermuda is high, with free provision of primary school education and two government-funded secondary schools. Most expats use private schooling and there is a choice of six schools for 11- to 18-year-olds. It is also quite common for teenage children to be educated abroad. Bermuda College provides vocational training in limited subjects but there is no university on the island.

Living in Bermuda is a very pleasant expat experience and many come for a short period but are still there years later.