Moving to The Bahamas creates several questions and issues from a legal perspective. If you are making the move or have newly made a move here, you should make sure to comply with your legal obligations and understand the differences between Bahamian laws and those from your previous home.
You may have a very hard time finding a job after you move here, as the immigration laws are strict. Most people move to The Bahamas with a job already secured because of the work permit requirements. You cannot apply for a work permit yourself – your new employer must complete and submit the application to employ you. Further, you may only receive a work permit if you can show that no Bahamian can do your job. Work permits cost more depending on your job, and can cost up to tens of thousands of Bahamian dollars at the higher end of the scale. You usually must renew your work permit every year.
Permanent residency can take one of two forms: (1) economic permanent residency (EPR) in The Bahamas which typically does not include a right to work in The Bahamas, or (2) permanent residency with the right to work.. People who purchase homes for B$500,000 or more receive priority in the EPR application process. Alternatively, you could apply for an annual residence classification or a homeowner's residence card.
Taxes in The Bahamas may be different than in your previous home. You can expect:
No income taxes in The Bahamas
No capital gains taxes in The Bahamas
No estate or inheritance taxes in The Bahamas
A value added tax (VAT) on most goods and services, including those purchased elsewhere and brought into The Bahamas
Annual real property taxes on real estate owned in The Bahamas
A 10 percent stamp tax if you purchase a new home
Customs duties on items imported into The Bahamas
As a result of customs duties and VAT, importing items can be costly. However, you may find that some items are not available locally or there may be less variety.
To find out more about laws in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.