Responding to criticism that the proposed Economic Investment  and Residential Certificate policy is nothing new, Premier David Burt says the legislation tabled by the Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward contains “significant changes”.

Speaking at the latest COVID briefing on Tuesday (Feb 23), he said: “There has been much said about this policy, such as it is nothing different from what previous Governments have proposed, which may have been opposed by the party of which I represent.

“While it is correct that the Economic Investment Certificate is not new, this policy contains significant changes from the previous requirements that were in place which solely benefited wealthy persons who wished to live in Bermuda.

“Previously wealthy persons who wanted to live in Bermuda indefinitely would only have to pay a $525 a year fee for a Residential Certificate and were not required to make any investments in Bermuda. This new policy will require wealthy persons who wish to reside in Bermuda to make an economic contribution to the country.

“These changes ensure that more Bermudians can benefit from wealthy persons who choose to reside here by requiring them to support our economy’s well-being,” he added.

The new Bill “will require people who are granted the right to live in Bermuda to first make an economic investment of $2.5M or more in the island”.

Jason Hayward, Minister of Labour

Speaking in the House of Assembly last Friday (Feb 19), Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward said the new policy to obtain Investment and Residential Certificates “ensures a minimum investment in the Bermuda economy”.

“Unlike the previous Residential Certificate policies, the Economic Investment Certificate has clear criteria for holders to be eligible to apply for the right to reside in Bermuda indefinitely while contributing to the economic wellbeing of the Island.”

Applicants who want the right to live in Bermuda, must “first make an economic investment of $2.5M or more in the island”.

“This requirement will allow Bermuda to capitalize on having more people living on island while also benefitting from those who have significant financial means,” said the Minister.

“If at or after five years, the Economic Investment Certificate holder decides he or she would like to reside in Bermuda indefinitely the holder may apply for the Residential Certificate.

He noted that applicants for the Economic Investment Certificate can make a minimum investment in Bermuda in any one or more of the following ways (not exclusive):

  • Purchase Bermuda situs real estate, whether residential or commercial;
  • Purchase Bermuda Government bonds to be held for a minimum of five years;
  • Contribute to Bermuda’s Sinking Fund for the purpose of Debt Reduction;
  • Contribute to the newly established Bermuda Trust Fund;
  • Donate to a Bermuda Registered charity in the areas of sports development, youth, seniors and health;
  • Make a direct or indirect equity investment in an existing Bermuda based business, including BSX listed entities, but excluding where the investment is limited to holding listed securities in exempted undertakings;
  • Invest in the development and launch of a new Bermuda based business; or
  • Invest in such other social or useful venture that benefits Bermuda, Bermudians and things Bermudian as may be determined by the Minister.

Overall, the Minister said: “The Economic Investment Certificate policy is a superior policy to our current residential certificate policy because it is designed to generate direct investment in Bermuda and simulate ongoing economic activity.

If approved, the new policy will go into effect on March 1, 2021.

“A fee of $2,625 will be charged for the issuance of the certificate, in accordance with the existing Government Fees Schedule.”

Meanwhile, the Premier also noted that this Friday (Feb 26) is Budget Day for the Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson.

“It will no doubt be a budget greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the substantial economic impact it has had on our country,” said Mr Burt.

“The Budget will outline the Government’s focus on rebuilding and diversifying our economy and keeping our promises from the 2020 election platform, and the 2020 Throne Speech.”