Need a break from your apartment? Have you been working remote and need some fresh air? Why not try moving to Barbados?
Barbados is a small beautiful island that has suffered significant financial losses due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But, this entrepreneurial island has found a way to keep innovating and developing its economy.
Recently, a program called “Barbados Welcome Stamp” has been introduced and it welcomes foreigners to live on the white sandy beaches for up to a year. This program is part of a wider strategy to attract the foreign investment needed for economic development, especially given the current global economic climate.
What’s the Catch, You Ask?
There’s always a catch when something looks too good to be true…. so here goes:
- You need to be self-sufficient and have insurance for yourself and your family.
- You need to be at least 21 years old.
- You must pay $2,000 for a visa, or $3,000 for a family visa.
- You must be a teleworker working remotely and earn at least $50,000 yearly to qualify.
- You need to be tested for COVID-19 before and after arrival.
- You’ll have to consent to background checks.
Am I Guaranteed to be Accepted?
It will take a week after the application to know if you’ve been accepted, but if you have all the criteria above there shouldn’t be much stopping you from getting accepted.
Barbados is a small economy mainly dependent on tourism and during a pandemic, the country’s leaders want to incentivize travel and residency in the country. Around 12% of the country’s GDP is directly generated through tourism and they’ve felt the pinch in 2020.
The island only had around 150 infections of Coronavirus and very few deaths, so they are promoting themselves as a safe place to be. The minister was quoted as saying that the program was a way of attracting wealthy individuals and families to make their homes in Barbados.
So, if you are considering leaving your country for the first time or moving from one place to another, why not give paradise a try. After all, who knows, the island might just become your home away from home—even if it is just for a little while!
So Why Should I Think about It?
A stamp of welcome is a non-binding promise, issued by the Citizenship by Investment Division of the National Investment Bank (NIB), to grant an applicant citizenship and a passport of Barbados after acquiring a citizenship certificate.
The new law deals with foreign investors who are interested in immigrating to Barbados. Those who choose to “invest” in the country can take advantage of programs like “the Welcome Stamp,” which gives investors fast-track entry rights into Europe and the United States.
This initiative is being desperately promoted as a way to ensure the existence of certain industries. According to officials, “The offer of citizenship is a bold and crucial step for the future growth and development of Barbados, and once again we look forward to welcoming new residents to our beautiful country.”
What Else Do I Need to Consider?
When someone enters a new country and is considered a resident, that person has to follow local laws. One law is that the foreigner may not own property for one year before they can apply for citizenship. This might be too short for some people to make a decision.
There could be several cost issues associated with the Welcome Stamp such as having an address where mail can be delivered and the need to have a phone installed in case of an emergency.
Taxation presents an issue for visitors who are passing through the island to visit other islands. So, tourists must realize that they are not exempt from paying sales taxes just because they pay their Welcome Stamp fee rather than rent on a property. That said, visitors using the Welcome Stamp visa do not need to pay Barbados income taxes.
Here’s a great read from foriegnersfinances.com on what to be mindful of when it comes to your money while living as an expat: https://www.foreignersfinances.com/avoid-these-common-expat-money-mistakes/
Why Is Barbados Offering This?
For visitors to Barbados, the Welcome Stamp is a sure way to become a part of the island family. It’s also a powerful symbol of support for a permanent residence program, which will enrich the country culturally and economically.
Visitors must obtain their stamps at any of the stamp locations within 30 days of arrival in Barbados. The Welcome Stamp initiative should be seen as the first step in a much broader strategy. It is an opportunity to address the country’s declining tourist industry.
It is important to remember, however, that the Welcome Stamp plan only addresses the economic problem of the population decline. There are other critical reasons to encourage foreign investment in Barbados, such as the need for capital investment and jobs.
One of the most important obstacles in attracting overseas investors is the lack of confidence in Barbados’ political stability and ability to govern as a democracy. The island should try to do everything possible to address these issues to attract true foreign partners who want to become citizens of Barbados
The official launch of Barbados’ Welcome Stamp will be the first step in Barbados’ evolution from a tourism-dependent economy with a laissez-faire policy towards mass immigration, to an inward migration economy.
The bottom line is that the island can no longer solely rely on tourists to support the economy. Barbados should encourage its emigrants to repurchase their homes, businesses, and land, while foreigners should be encouraged to invest in businesses but most importantly in real property.