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My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Old Dec 20th 2016, 12:18 pm
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Post My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

We moved into a rental suite last October as new retirees from Canada. We have enjoyed the last few months exploring this beautiful country again. I spent 3 years working here in the early 1980's - it has changed a lot since then. We were hoping we could remain here through our retirement years and have taken steps to get information to help us decide what to do. Many people on this site have expressed an interest in moving here, perhaps to retire, so I thought I would share our recent experience with the Barbados Immigration office. We have no desire to work and just wish to spend our retirement pensions in the Caribbean.

There are many requirements and hurtles to gain residency and many of them are listed on the Barbados Immigration website along with application forms. They don't tell you all of the specific details on that site and that is what this post is about.

After changing out of our flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts and replacing them with leather shoes, long pants and button down collar shirts, we waited for an hour in the long line up to see an immigration officer. Our name was called for an interview and we managed to squeeze two people inside the small interview booth.

General information was provided first and she indicated that people who wish to be granted residency in Barbados would normally get that through the Barbados Citizenship By Investment Program (whereby potential new immigrants would invest some millions of dollars in land holdings or a new development to employ Barbadians), or perhaps through their Immigrant Status Program whereby immigrants have already invested in real estate here and have a summer home that they own and visit each year for 10 or 20 years (up to 6 months in Barbados and then back to their home country again). They would look at those sorts of commitments as a positive influence on our application for gaining residency on the island.

When we pressed for more specific details of what would be needed for us retirees, it became very clear that they won't grant residency to renters who wish to live in their country on a continuous long term basis. Large sums of money need to be brought into the island and must be spent in advance of a residency application. In addition to filling out forms, providing medical certificates and police certificates, we were told that applicants must have a minimum of Bds$4 million dollars moved to a Barbados bank account and invested in commercial ventures, or, have already purchased a home, paid their land taxes, and be able to prove they are financially sustainable, have their own medical coverage, and not be a burden on Barbados as they age. Overall, the applicant must demonstrate that they have made significant financial ties to the island and have already committed to leaving their former home country to become a Barbadian resident. All of that would then be “considered” as part of the application process for us as retirees.

Alas, we don't have large sums of money laying around, nor do we have time to buy a home and travel back and forth for years while going through a lengthy application process that could be denied.

Many other countries have specific retirement income levels (pensions and other sources) in their immigration policies that would allow retirees to gain residency and live there. Unfortunately, there are no provisions in the existing Barbados immigration policy that sets a minimum monthly income level to grant residency.

Imagine if 100 young and healthy retired folks each spent Bds$8,000 per month for 20 years of retirement, renting a nice suite and regularly eating in restaurants. That would amount to almost Bds$200,000,000 being added to the local economy over that period. They were not interested.

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Old Dec 20th 2016, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

to say that this report is not surprising, would be an understatement. as with many other countries, they would rather you "buy in" and by doing this prove you aren't hear to live off the government (which we know you likely aren't doing this, but.....).

http://www.immigration.gov.bb/pages/...Residence.aspx this is the info from the immigration website for permanent residency application, which , as it appears, is for someone who is not retired and has a regular income...

Retire in Barbados - Retire in the Caribbean I've read this as well..

You could continue to live here, renewing your long term stay visa every so often with the immigration office.. it does say something purchasing a home, and having sufficient funds.. but as you have stated.. they pretty much want you to have large sums of money to be able to do this...

I do know several people who have retired here.. I'm actually not 100pct certain how they have come to do this.. but I may have to start asking questions..

and yes.. the rules have changed over the years.. and as the government has spent more and more money.. they are looking for more and more foreign investment.. regardless of how they get it.

and just to advise.. they are also very willing to kick expats out of the island, including those who have worked hard for this country.. it's most unfortunate.
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Old Dec 20th 2016, 1:00 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Thank you very much for your observations and comments Sunnie. We are definitely looking elsewhere to spend our healthy pensions.
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Old Dec 20th 2016, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Ask not what your 'new' country can do for you, but what you can do for your country... [JFK's speech]

Face it, barbados and other islands are relatively wealthy and are not richly endowed with land, if you arent a platinum club member, why on earth should they want you? Some other islands immigration make the experience above look like a welcome.
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Old Dec 20th 2016, 6:41 pm
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Thanks for posting this Beachseeker..when Sunnie or I gravitate to warnings for those looking to relocate that it is not as simple as you think I am sure we are met with virtual killjoy stares lol...your experiences are the facts! As UK Grenada says barbados doesnt think it needs the foreign spend - investment is a different matter. The locals I know would beg to differ!! The previous government under Owen Arthur's leadership welcomed foreigners but this incumbent government is more inward thinking
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Old Dec 20th 2016, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

on the flip side to this.. I do know a story of a youngish English man and his American wife who "bought" there way into Barbados by purchasing an Italian Restaurant several years ago. After a few years and having a daughter, I found out they had left Barbados. one reason I heard was because they didn't want their daughter to pick up the Bajan Dialect in School.. The real reason was that they ended up owning loads of money to the government in National Insurance Contributions for their staff among other debts.. they picked up and basically left over night.. Not the first and certainly not the last..

so.. as Dipity has said.. Come .. Stay, spend some money.. but.. to actually get some sort of guarantee residency.. show them the money first.. I don't necessarily agree with this governments take on this.. and some of the rules that have changed for expats who are here with spouses who are here on Work Permits has made it very difficult to live a normal life on this island..

good luck elsewhere..
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Old Dec 20th 2016, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Thank you dipidy and sunnie. I appreciate the candor and confirmation from each of you. (Karma given to Serendipity but it won't let me do Sunniebgi again so soon....) We will take your wishes of good luck and head to our next destination. I owe someone a beer on the next island - he knows who he is. Hopefully he will be there when we arrive in April. :-)
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Old Dec 21st 2016, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Originally Posted by beachseeker View Post
Thank you dipidy and sunnie. I appreciate the candor and confirmation from each of you. (Karma given to Serendipity but it won't let me do Sunniebgi again so soon....) We will take your wishes of good luck and head to our next destination. I owe someone a beer on the next island - he knows who he is. Hopefully he will be there when we arrive in April. :-)
I'll bung some over for you.
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Old Dec 21st 2016, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
I'll bung some over for you.
...I'm not sure what that means.... but OK...
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Old Jan 13th 2017, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

HI AngelEdwards.. thanks for joining the group..and it's ok for you to suggest a particular school if someone is asking., but please don't advertise the school on any of the other posts. . people are asking questions, and schools usually do come up.. but most people want experiences and not necessarily advertisements.. just thought I'd let you know..

thanks.
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Old Jan 13th 2017, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Originally Posted by Sunniebgi View Post
HI AngelEdwards.. ..., but please don't advertise the school on any of the other posts... . thanks.
Thank you Sunnie - I also felt that the advertisement didn't really belong with the subject matter of this posting...
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Old Jan 20th 2017, 10:05 am
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Beechseeker. . I have re-read your information and to my knowledge, Barbados doesn't have a citizenship by investment scheme like many of the other Caribbean islands. They have an Special Entry Visa, that allows for residency so that you can come and go as you please. and in a conversation with a friend last evening, the part about owning a home on the island, the minimum cost of that property is approximately 300,000.00bbd/ 150,000.00usd. and I would assume that you would also need to show that you aren't going to become dependent on the government by living on the island .

I'm not suggesting that the officer you spoke with gave you incorrect information, however.. I know someone who has recently gone through this process.. and didn't have to fork over millions to do it.
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Old Jan 20th 2017, 10:36 am
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Originally Posted by Sunniebgi View Post
Beechseeker. . I have re-read your information and to my knowledge, Barbados doesn't have a citizenship by investment scheme like many of the other Caribbean islands... ...I'm not suggesting that the officer you spoke with gave you incorrect information, however.. I know someone who has recently gone through this process.. and didn't have to fork over millions to do it.
Thank you for sharing Sunnie. I wish the management team at the Barbados Immigration Office would make sure their staff have been trained such that information is being shared properly. The information in my long note above is precisely what I was told. I wrote it down as she was telling me, and asked her specific questions about it while I was there. I have her name in my notes.

It would be most helpful to all of us who are seeking immigration related information, if they would just put it in writing on their website, like many other countries do. It's sad that we have to keep guessing.

It may be that she was using the wrong term when she spoke to me as I have found some information on a private site that discusses details of the special entry permit...
Retired property owners are also eligible to apply under the Special Entry Permit program.
The Barbados Special Entry Permit requirements for High Net Worth Persons are as follows:
• Net assets of US $5 million
• Police certificate of character
• Health insurance coverage worth US $350,000 for persons under 50 years; US $500,000 for those over 50 years
Once a High Net Worth Individual qualifies for a Special Entry Permit, an annual or indefinite work permit may then be purchased with no additional requirements if desired.
Applicants under 60 years of age, who wish to run their worldwide business from Barbados but not work for a Barbados registered company, will not require a work permit.
It is also important for High Net Worth Individuals to contact the Central Bank of Barbados to register their Permit status on the island in order to be granted permission to open foreign currency accounts which are exempt from all exchange controls.

... here is the link: http://harrymanning.com/special-entry-permit-barbados

Last edited by beachseeker; Jan 20th 2017 at 10:48 am. Reason: more info to add
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Old Jan 20th 2017, 6:48 pm
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interesting.. I guess that applies to only certain people, cause my friend advises she ain't got that.. but has residency that is lifetime..
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Old Jan 20th 2017, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: My Experience with Immigration for retiring in Barbados

Originally Posted by Sunniebgi View Post
interesting.. I guess that applies to only certain people, cause my friend advises she ain't got that.. but has residency that is lifetime..
It makes me and many of my friends here wonder who those certain people are that make the grade... I have no information about your friend or her circumstances so please don't take me to task on this. Perhaps your friend has purchased a fancy home and has gone through the many years of visits and paying taxes, etc...

I have met others here in Barbados who have done exactly that, These are nice upstanding people from the "motherland". They know many people on the island and are heavily involved in community organizations and events. After 11 years of applications for permanent residency as retirees, they were still turned down. In the interim, they were granted temporary residency, through several applications and many fees being paid, but that temporary residency expired after a few years of living here. They feel the fees have been wasted. They were told to apply again and to include the fees payable in the new (more expensive) fee structure. They are now selling their beautiful long term home here in Barbados. This is due to frustration with the system, the unclear / ever-changing "rules", the seemingly invisible (and moveable) goal posts, along with additional application fees payable at every turn.

I appreciate all of your help and guidance with this Sunnie. I know I have learned many things reading the informative posts on this expat site. Perhaps its better for retirees like us to continue visiting as short term tourists from time to time, and spend the bulk of our pensions elsewhere.
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