Incomparable natural beauty is what comes to mind when most people think of The Bahamas, and for good reasons: this archipelago off the southeastern coast of Florida, made up of more than 2000 cays, is an oasis of palm trees, turquoise waters, and white beaches. That’s a big part of the allure; the other half? Tax relief.
The Bahamas draw many expats that end up staying for longer than expected because the government imposes neither an income, corporate, or capital gains tax, making it one of the biggest tax havens in the Caribbean. It’s no surprise that offshore financial operations proliferate in the country, then, which serves as a basis for the economy, right after tourism.
The major developed centers of the Bahamas are on New Providence and Grand Bahama, meaning that there is a lot of internal migration toward these sites from the other, less developed islands. Job opportunities are more abundant here, especially in their urban centers Nassau (the capital city) and Freeport. Expats moving to the archipelago are wise to begin their searches for meaningful employ at one of these two cities.
Living the high life is what the Bahamas is really all about: with the third highest per capita income in the hemisphere (right after the US and Canada), most Bahamians are living fairly well. The cost of living is by no means cheap, so be sure to have some savings before making the trip.
The immigration process can be a bit complicated, and will usually be sped up by having an auspicious amount of money and/or by wedding a local. Otherwise, being of “good character” (not having a criminal record) and owning property on the island of significant value, say, over $500,000, helps a lot. Getting work is no easy affair, and basically any job that doesn’t require you to have a university education will be reserved for a Bahamian; with a small population pendent upon the tourism industry, this nationalistic policy is quite understandable. A good explanation on how the policies work, and what your best opportunities will be, can be found at The Bahamas Guide.
You’ll want to get an idea of what kinds of properties are for sale and in what areas of the archipelago; take some time to check out the listings. It’s also a good idea to look through a general guide on what to do, how to behave, what NOT to do, etc., which will put all your doubts and worries to rest.
Lastly, for those with a taste for a little decadence and nocturnal fun, check out the best of the Bahamas’ nightlife scene.