The Government of The Bahamas has a flexible process for granting Economic Permanent Residency (EPR) and maintains a flexible immigration policy, both designed to make it easy to live and work in The Bahamas.
The criteria to qualify for Economic Permanent Residence are simple and straightforward. The applicant:
- Cannot have a criminal record;
- Must purchase property valued at more than $500,000; or
- Own or have a beneficial interest in a business in The Bahamas which is in a growth category and which supports the employment of Bahamians;
- Must demonstrate sufficient resources in cash, investments or salary, to be self-supporting without the need to be employed in The Bahamas;
- Must show that property tax payments are current.
Persons with Permanent Residence and their spouses and children (with the appropriate government permit) have the same rights as Bahamians, except for the right to vote. They may pass freely through immigration and have the right to stay any length of time.
Permanent residents may bring their own personal assistants or household staff with them to The Bahamas subject to government clearance and the issuance of work permits.
There is another category known as Annual Residence which may be renewed annually, or an individual may apply for a Homeowners Resident Card, which offers no privileges other than to move freely through Immigration at any port of entry.
The Government’s stance on immigration is to protect jobs for Bahamians while recognizing the needs of international firms, individuals and families to import talent with specialised skills and expertise which are not locally available locally.
In order for a foreigner to work in The Bahamas, a Work Permit must be obtained, which is only valid for that specific person and position. The cost of a Work Permit varies from $500 to $12,500 depending on seniority of the applicant. Work Permits usually are granted for one year but they may be granted for periods up to three years for senior personnel.
It is possible to obtain Permanent Residency with the right to work; this arrangement usually is suited to the individual with a family office or who wants to manage investments or a business that doesn’t interact with the Bahamian economy, and may be of particular interest to those who desire to establish a second home.