Moving to The Bahamas
The Bahamas are an island archipelago consisting of thousands of islands and cays, located in the Atlantic Ocean to the South East of the Florida Peninsula and to the North East of Cuba. The climate is tropical, although there is a year-round cooling effect from the Gulf Stream.
Infrastructure / Job Prospects
If you are looking at moving to The Bahamas for work, you will be interested to know about the local economy.
The present economy of The Bahamas relies heavily on the tourist industry. The industry accounts for around 70% of country’s GDP and employs around half the work force.
Around 5 million tourists visit the Bahamas each year to experience the top quality beach resorts and local lifestyle, go scuba-diving or snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters, or even get married! All of this contributes around $4 billion to the national economy.
Since the 80s the government has encouraged the development of the local financial industry, and this took off significantly after the adoption of offshore business structures, such as the special low tax International Business Companies, which in turn encouraged the growth of the local banking industry. Today financial services are the second largest contributor to the economy, accounting for around 15% of GDP and employing a growing work force.
The country has several niche industries, some of which are well-known world wide, including Barcardi, the rum maker, whose production is based in The Bahamas.
Through the use of International trade missions and other projects, the government has tried to encourage companies, helping them with moving to The Bahamas to set up or expand business, particularly in the area of food production, which it is trying to increase, in order to both boost the economy and lower the country’s dependence on foreign imports.
Living cost and Taxes
Living in The Bahamas is relatively expensive, with both food and rent being of comparable or higher cost than US or Western European prices.
Tax however is a different matter, and if you fit into a wealthier bracket, the Bahamian tax system will mean you are much better off overall. There is no income tax, capital gains tax, sales tax or other personal taxes, all of which could save thousands of dollars a year for wealthier westerners. Of course, in addition to the potential savings, living in The Bahamas comes with the benefit of the laid-back local lifestyle and tropical climate!
The Bahamas are well-known as a tax haven and they have the usual International Business Company and Trust legislation. Companies that do Business within The Bahamas, however are taxed at a different rate.
As a nation of islands, The Bahamas are obviously home to a large collection of ports and harbours catering to all manner of vessels. Some of the smaller islands in The Bahamas can only be reached by boat.
The largest port is Nassau, which is home to the Prince George Wharf cruise ship terminal and many other smaller marinas.
Grand Bahama is also important in terms of ports. The island has been encouraging a growing tourist industry, with Port Lucaya becoming the major tourist destination and the port city of Freeport recently attracting cruise ship trade.
The Lynden Pindling International Airport is the largest airport in The Bahamas. It is located around 10 miles to the West of the capital Nassau, and serves routes to Canada and most major US cities, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and other Caribbean locations, and notably, Switzerland and London, due in part, no doubt, to the local offshore banking industry.
The second largest airport in The Bahamas is the Grand Bahama International Airport.
Important Cities and Population Density
The population of The Bahamas is around 300,000 people. Around two-thirds of the population live in Nassau, the capital city, located on the island of New Providence. The city is home to much of the local banking industry and is also extremely popular with US tourists, who come for both the relaxing lifestyle and the bustling nightlife.
The city of Freeport on Grand Bahama is the second largest city in terms of population, and is growing increasingly popular as a tourist destination, although much of Grand Bahama is still relatively unspoilt.
The Bahamas Facts
The origin’s of the country’s name are not certain, but may be from the original description of the island of Grand Bahama given by the Lucayan’s (the local people of the area).
The island has been through many changes, having previously had a mainly Celtic population in the early times of the slave trade, followed by a largely black population as slaves were brought from Africa to work in the plantations. Now the population is made up of around 70% African, 15% European and %15 Mixed Race.
The Bahamas government has a relatively strict immigration policy, and those moving The Bahamas for work must be either key employees of a company, or be filling a job that cannot be filled locally by a Bahamian national. In practice this means skilled workers, large investors, or those purchasing property over $250,000 in value, are able to get residency or work permits more easily than others looking to fill lower jobs.
If you are looking to move to The Bahamas, we recommend you fill out the free estimate form which will allow you to specify details of the possessions you would like to take with you when you move. We will provide you with up to ten free, personalised quotes from pre-screened international moving companies.
Local Newspapers: www.bahamasnews.com
Local TV: www.nassautv.com