Moving to The Bahamas
Expats moving to Bahamas will enjoy the country’s tropical climate, pearl white beaches, and luxurious lifestyle. The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest countries in the West Indies, after United States and Canada. The tourism sector of Bahamas is its main lifeline, accounting for more than 60% of the country’s GDP and providing employment to a majority of the Bahamian population.
A magnificent paradise consisting of 700 islands, cays and islets, The Bahamas is comparable to a slice of heaven on Earth. The capital city of The Bahamas is Nassau, and the country’s official language is English although several locals also speak the Bahamian dialect. The government of The Bahamas is parliamentary constitutional monarchy headed by Queen Elizabeth II. 85% of The Bahamas population is Africans, and the remaining 15% are Europeans, Asians, and Latin Americans. The country’s currency is called the Bahamian Dollar (BSD), which is pegged to the U.S. dollar.
The Bahamas is known as one of the most prosperous countries in the Americas, with a progressive economy mostly sustained by the tourism sector – which employs 50% of the country’s labor force -- and financial services. It is also seen as a “tax haven” because the Bahamian government does not impose an income tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax, wealth tax or value-added tax. Instead, The Bahamas generates its revenue through stamp duties, import tariffs, real estate taxes and license fees. A high number of foreign nationals go to The Bahamas, either for leisure purposes, work or retirement. In 2012, the country had 5.7 million foreign visitors.
Foreign nationals coming from EU member states, countries situated in the Americas, and countries regarded as “first-world” do not require a visa to enter The Bahamas. Those who come from neither of those above are required to obtain a visa from the Embassy or Consulate of The Bahamas in their country of origin. Most of the foreigners visiting or residing in the country stay on New Providence Island, where the capital, Nassau, is located and where 70% of the nation’s population lives. Due to the country’s location, the climate in The Bahamas is tropical Savannah – often dry and sunny for extended periods of time.
The standard of living in The Bahamas is very high, attributed to the country’s impressive gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and excellent economy. However, expats planning to find a job in the country will be facing a difficult time because the government prioritizes hiring Bahamian nationals first – a move that also aims to lessen the unemployment rate in the country. Furthermore, foreigners require a work permit from the Department of Immigration, which will be applied for by the prospective employer of the foreign national.
The Bahamas offers a wide array of leisurely activities for foreign visitors of all ages. Some of the popular tourist attractions in The Bahamas are Pirates of Nassau, Garden of the Groves, Graycliff Cigar Co, and Ardastra Gardens and Zoo. Since The Bahamas is surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters, majority of the tourist activities involve water sports such as sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, kite boarding, water skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and the list goes on.For food adventurers, don’t miss out on the country’s national food “conch” – a kind of mollusk that can be served raw or deep-fried with a twist of lemon, accompanied with rice and peas. Other types of seafood are also common, as can be expected on an island. Several bars and clubs in The Bahamas offer various activities for those who are fond of nightlife.
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