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How to Move to Barbados

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - February 19, 2016

Yes, it’s possible to move to the Caribbean, whether you want to add a second home or turn your Caribbean beach dream into a reality. Now, moving to the Caribbean means different things for different people and different price points — and that’s why we write our How to Move series, answering common questions about making the move. To help you think about it, we talked to Jason Applewhite, Operations Manager for Barbados’ One Caribbean Estates real estate brokerage to learn more.

Why should I move to Barbados?

Apart from the obvious appeal of the beautiful beaches, high average of 300+ days of sunshine a year and the natural appeal of the destination, Barbados enjoys a positive image in the global marketplace as a sound International Business Centre and has been effectively attracting Foreign Direct Investment for decades. Some of the main factors which have contributed to investors choosing this destination are:

¬ Attractive Fiscal environment/social stability
¬ Ease of access to housing market (no entry taxes and landholding license requirements)
¬ High Quality Construction
¬ Well developed and established amenities and amenitized world-class developments including Golf, Polo & Marina (Yachting/Sailing)
¬ Persons who invest in excess of US$2 Million automatically qualify to apply for a SERP (Special Entry and Residency Permit) towards obtaining residency status in Barbados

Companies looking to thrive in a highly competitive global marketplace invest in Barbados to capitalize on the business-friendly environment, strong human capital, high-quality infrastructure, tax advantages, investment protection, and overall good quality of life.

barbados 2

And can I live there? What are the residency laws, etc.?

As mentioned before, Barbados is a highly hospitable destination with strong human capital, high-quality infrastructure and an overall good quality of life. Persons who wish to take up permanent residence in Barbados must provide tangible evidence that they are not likely to become a charge on the nation. Applications should be made to the Immigration Department.

What are the advantages of living permanently vs. part time?

This is a rather broad question…and the specifics are varied. The United Nations Human Development Index ranks Barbados 57th and apart from the hospitality of the people the overall standard of living is high. To reiterate… the island has an excellent education system, a good healthcare system, affordable housing, sound telecommunications and all utilities available island-wide. So ultimately I’d have to say that there is less of an opportunity for one to benefit from these ‘perks’ if they are domiciled here rather than to miss out on them.

barbados wind

How much does the average home cost? 

This is a very broad question but across the different sectors of the real estate market the following are price ranges which outline/distinguish the distinctions between your ‘average home’ and a ‘luxury home’. The average home as we would perhaps define it falls into the Middle Income bracket as it relates to pricing. The pricing is set out according to the different sectors/sub-sectors:

Low – Middle Income (Modest Housing) US$75,000 – $275,000
Middle – High Income (Up-Market Housing) US$300,000 – $750,000
High-End – Luxury Market (Luxury Housing) US$800,000 – $1,000,000+

How much does a beachfront condo cost?

The ‘average’ cost is relative to the following factors or characteristics which include: configuration and size, and for the ‘typical’ beachfront condo this would be a 2-3 bedroom unit and relative to what the current available inventory on the market is and the size and price are as follows:

Size: 1,600 – 2,200 sq. ft.
No. of Bedrooms: 2-3
Price: US$850,000 – $1,600,000

How much does it cost to build a home?

Building cost for the ‘average’ home with basic finishes can be low as US$75 per sq. ft. going up to US$150. Anything above this price range ventures into the higher-end & luxury segment of the market.

barbados bay

What are the real estate taxes like?

Real Estate taxes are calculated on a tiered basis and this responsibility overseen by the Barbados Revenue Authority. The land tax year runs from April to March. Rates vary between nil and 0.75 percent of the value of the property, depending on the value, with a maximum land tax payable of BDS $60,000. The seller will have prepaid the land taxes before completion and a buyer will be responsible for the months between completion and March of the following year.

What are income taxes like?
Income Tax is levied on: The profits of a trade or business earned by an individual in a fiscal year; and the income earned by any other individual in a calendar year. Income Tax is levied on the income of persons resident or non-resident in Barbados. There is no tax on capital. The system of taxation is based on self-assessment

Liability for Income Tax

Resident
A Resident is a corporation managed and controlled in Barbados; or a non-national individual who is present in Barbados for more than 182 days in a calendar year. A resident corporation is subject to tax on its world income. A resident and domicile individual is subject to tax on his world income. The resident but not domiciled individual is subject to tax on his income derived in Barbados and on his income from foreign sources remitted to Barbados, or from which a benefit is derived in Barbados.
Non-resident
A Non-resident is a corporation whose place of management and control is outside Barbados; or a non-national individual who is present in Barbados for less than 183 days in a calendar year. A non-resident is subject to tax only on income derived in Barbados.

calimbo, barbados

Above: Ca’Limbo, Sandy Lane Estate

Can I work in Barbados?

All non-nationals desirous of working in Barbados are required to register with immigration prior to commencing employment. The employer or ‘sponsor’ has the responsibility to make the application on behalf of the employee. The application fee is $300.00 BDS but the final fee will vary dependent on the category of work and the length of time requested and in accordance with the international standard code fee regulations.

What’s health care like?

Compared to most developing and developed countries around the world and particularly in the Caribbean, it is good.

Can I bring my car? What’s the duty?

Yes you can, the costs vary depending on where you are coming from and the value of the vehicle.

For more info, reach out to One Caribbean Estates. 

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