(This comprehensive guide reflects the most recent up-to-date information on the Bermuda Immigration website. Any changes made to Bermuda Immigration policy will be immediately updated here.)
Who wouldn’t want to work in paradise? Bermuda is one of the most coveted places to work in the world. Unfortunately, it’s a small island with very high standards and they have to keep population control in mind. Because of that, getting a work permit in Bermuda isn’t easy but if you meet all the requirements, you have nothing to worry about.
The first thing you’ll need is an employer. Non-Bermudian residents cannot apply for their own work permit. They have to have already secured employment and it must be secured while they are outside of Bermuda. Coming to Bermuda on a visitor’s visa and looking for a job is a lovely thing to dream about but it will not work.
Once you secure an offer, you will need to provide your employer with:
- A clear police record
- A medical clearance certificate showing good health
- Employment references (which they most likely already have)
- Character references
- Passport sized photos
- A certified copy of your passport and any marriage certificates or partner affidavits for significant others who may be joining you.
Bermuda Job Boards
There are several legitimate and comprehensive job boards that foreign workers can use. It is always worth a try but keep in mind that locals will be considered first over foreign applicants. Find ways to make yourself stand out. You might want to look into getting a professional to help with your resume and application.
- The Royal Gazette Jobs Section
- Bermuda Job Board (run by the Department of Workforce Development – They also have an expiring work permit section so you can try to jump on in where somebody else may be leaving)
- Bermuda Jobs.com (Bermuda recruitment agency)
- Bermuda Hospitals Job Board
- Hamilton Recruitment (Job Board for Accountants, Lawyers and the financial sector)
Closed Job Categories
Some jobs are not open for work permits for anybody, even in special circumstances. They are as follows:
- Airline Ground Agent
- Retail Floor Supervisor
- General Labourer
- Office Receptionist
- Tourist Retail Salesperson
- Taxi Driver
- Wallpaper Technician
- Grocery Packer
Restricted job Categories
Restricted job categories are jobs that require evidence that local candidates provided by the Department of Work Development (DWD) have been considered but were not found to be qualified over a foreign candidate. The permit term for these positions only goes up to a year.
- Bank Teller
- General Bartender (customer facing)
- Carpet Installer
- Commercial Cleaner
- Technical Salesperson
- Travel Agent/Consultant
- General Carpenter
- Administrative Assistant
- Room Attendant
- Kitchen Porter
- Dish/Pot Washer/Kitchen Assistants or similar roles
- Landscape Gardener (Entry Level)
- General Mason
Special Job Categories
These jobs are put into the special job categories because they must meet certain criteria to be open to a foreign individual needing a work permit. Explanations for each category can be found here.
- Child Caregiver
- Beauty Salon
- Spa and Hairdressing Staff
- Family Support
- Fine Artist
- Graduate Trainees
- Hospital Nurse and Physician
- Seasonal Work Permit
- Live-In Domestic Employees (Private Home)
- Locum Pharmacist and Shared Pharmacists
- Occasional Work Permit
- Model and Casual or Part-Time Employment
- Musician or Entertainer
- Music School Teacher
- Restaurant Staff
- Self-Employed Persons and Part Owners of a Bermuda Business
- Categories of Jobs Identified by the Minister where there are Large Numbers of Work Permits
Work Permit Restrictions and Spouses/Partners
Once you have received your work permit, it is technically held by your employer and you must agree to follow certain restrictions to maintain the right for your employer to hold the permit. You are not allowed to obtain a second job, nor are you allowed to change jobs until you have been in the country at least two years.
Spouses of permit holders are also able to work but it must be stated in the work permit application that they intend to do so. Once they are here, they have to obtain a letter from immigration giving them permission to find a job. It is a good idea for your spouse or partner to line up work before coming to the island as it will be very difficult to find work once you are here. They will not be eligible for closed or most restricted job categories and those they are eligible for will most likely be filled by a Bermudian, Bermudian spouse or permanent resident.
Short Term Work Permit
The Short Term Work Permit is for jobs that last between three and six months. Bermuda is very strict about the employee leaving the country as soon as the permit expires. Your employer can apply for extensions but if they choose not to, you will not be able to stay.
All employers, including not-for-profits, charities and religious organizations are eligible for the Short Term Permit unless they already have a periodic work permit for the same foreign individual.
The employer must prove that they advertised the position and considered local Bermudians, spouses of Bermudians and permanent residents before hiring a foreign individual.
The only exemption from having to advertise is when:
The employer files a Short Term Permit extension
Services of an employee of a Bermuda business’ overseas subsidiary, affiliate or parent company
Service providers or consultants that have expertise in a specialized field
Service providers for maintaining or repairing equipment that requires specialized knowledge
Services and/or entertainment for private wedding functions
Featured entertainers for a public performance or convention/conference for 14 days or less
A specialized coach, teacher, speaker, musician or entertainer for a non-profit, charity or religious organization for 60 days or more
Sports professionals or a professional sports team who are participating in any event that runs 14 days or less
A substitute for a religious minister or physician
An expert for short-term training offered by Bermuda Employer’s Council, College, Chamber of Commerce or other Bermuda recognized organizations that offer training.
Click here to apply for a Short Term Work Permit.
Standard Work Permit
The Standard Work Permit is for foreign employees who can demonstrate that their special qualifications or skills are necessary for the job opening that could not be accomplished by a Bermudian, spouse of a Bermudian or a Permanent Resident of Bermuda.
In order for the permit process to go smoothly, your employer must prove that they advertised for the position in Bermuda and granted interviews to Bermudians, spouses of Bermudians and/or permanent residents. They also must show that they sent notifications to the unsuccessful Bermudians, spouses and permanent residents who were up for the position.
The term for a standard permit is one to five years of continuous employment.
Jobs in the restricted category above may only apply for a standard permit for no longer than a year and evidence must be submitted that all eligible applicants were considered that are provided by the DWD.
Click here to apply for a Standard Work Permit.
Periodic Work Permit (30 Days at a Time – No More Than 180 Days a Year)
The Periodic Work Permit is for non-Bermudians who will be needed by a Bermuda employer intermittently for up to 30 days at a time. If the employee needs to stay for longer than 30 days, your employer can apply for an extension for another 30 days.
The employee cannot be in Bermuda for more than 180 days a year under this permit. However, the permit term can be between one – five years.
Eligible employees for the periodic permit are individuals who work for the Bermudian company overseas in another branch or contracted employees including salespeople. Other types of employment will have to be brought to the Home Affairs Minister.
If a foreign company is providing a service, the permit can be in the company name but only one representative is allowed to use the permit at a time. All other requirements remain the same.
Click here to apply for a Periodic Work Permit.
New Business Work Permit
A New Business Work Permit is for exempted companies that have been operating in Bermuda for less than six months. They are granted the ability to automatic approval of all work permits for the first six months without the need to advertise the positions.
The permit terms range from one to five years. At the end of the New Business Permit term, the company can then apply for a standard work permit for the foreign individual. This means that anybody hired under a New Business Work Permit is technically able to work in Bermuda for up to ten years.
Companies that fall under 114B in the Companies Act will be granted New Business Permits but will be limited to only five automatically approved permits.
There are requirements to the level of employment for which these automatic work permits will be granted.
Any job category provided that their position is not an entry level position
A graduate position
A trainee position
A job specified in a closed or restricted category (though these won’t be automatic and will have to consult a statutory council)
New Businesses who will require more than ten work permits within their first six months and 114B companies must submit an office staffing plan. The plan should include hiring projections and developing jobs for Bermudians and projections for using Bermudian service providers.
A New Business must also provide a certificate of incorporation or a section 114B certificate and the date that the company has or plans to begin operations if this date is different from the date of incorporation.
Click here to apply for a New Business Work Permit.
Global Entrepreneur Work Permit (GE Permit)
The GE Permit is only issued for one year after sufficient evidence is shown that there is serious interest and a high likelihood that the investor or entrepreneur applying for the permit will be opening a company headquarters in Bermuda.
This is the permit for startups and many tech companies have already taken advantage of this fairly new addition to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry added this permit to encourage more growth and employment opportunities for the island.
Applying for the permit will require a Bermudian contact or business service/investor verifying intent.
The prospective company must fall under exempted company status or section 114B start-ups in the Companies Act.
Activities to justify the work permit:
Seeking appropriate Government or regulatory approval(s)
Click here to apply for a GE Permit.
Global Work Permit
A Global Work Permit is for foreign employees of a global company that has an office in Bermuda. Because of the ties to the Bermuda location, the company does not have to advertise for this position as it would be considered an internal hire.
The only requirement is that the position being filled by the foreign individual is a new position and not a position that was already in existence. The company itself must be a global company not including franchises.
The term for a Global Permit is between one and five years. When the initial term is up, the company can then apply for a standard work permit, meaning a foreign global employee at a company with a Bermuda office can technically stay in Bermuda for up to ten years if all permit applications are approved.
The individuals who are on the application must have been employed with the global company for more than a year and must earn over $125,000USD annually. If the individual does not meet these requirements, the Minister will consider them as a special applicant and will decide on a case by case basis. It must be shown that the foreign individual who does not meet these requirements adds substantial value to Bermuda in other ways.
All other Work Permit rules and restrictions apply.
Click here to apply for a Global Work Permit.