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Do you want more expert hints & tips on finding work offshore? Whether or not you are an accountant, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

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Work permits

Any offer of employment to work on one of the Islands will be conditional on successfully obtaining a work permit from the Department of Immigration.

Your new employer will guide and sponsor you through this process and, provided all the correct information is submitted properly on a timely basis and Immigration procedures are adhered to, suitably qualified job-seekers should find this process to be a formality only.

Detailed information on the requirements for individual jurisdictions is provided via the links shown below. However, requirements as far as candidates are concerned usually include the following:

  • Certified copy of your passport

  • Certified copies of your degree and professional qualification certificates

  • Police certificate confirming you have no convictions

  • Medical certificate/X-ray confirming good general health

  • Written references

Eligibility for work permits

As a qualified lawyer or accountant, you are virtually guaranteed to be granted a work permit to work offshore on one of the Islands provided you hold a job offer from an employer and as long as the employer has gone through the usual step of advertising the position locally in case there are any local Islanders who'd be eligible for consideration.

We often get asked if a partner or spouse will be able to go offshore too. The short answer is Yes provided either A) Your partner is also a qualified lawyer or accountant, or B) You are married.

In the latter case, a married couple are both permitted to live on the Island even if only one of them has a job and the associated work permit. Note that work permits are associated with specific jobs/ employers and are not available to use for any other employer or job.

Things worth thinking about

If you are married but your spouse will not be working, employers may be cautious because they may fear that your partner will become bored or that you will struggle as a couple to survive financially based off a single income (the Islands are not cheap, even if they are tax-free).

If you are not married then your partner will need to seek employment of their own or to stay on the mainland. In the former case, they might be successful if they work in Financial Services, Administration, Hospitality, Teaching, Nursing or the Police but could struggle otherwise (often it is highly desirable for them to have at least two years of relevant work experience plus some sort of relevant supporting qualification). In the latter case, be aware that employers may worry that the strains of separation may prove too great a risk for them to hire someone who plans on a long-distance relationship. 

Applying for work permits

It is normal practice for job offers to be made subject to references proving satisfactory and a work permit being approved. An implied condition is also that you will supply the required work permit documentation within a reasonable time period. So be sure to complete your immigration and work permit application on a timely basis. It can take typically anywhere from 4-8 weeks on average to get final approval after your completed application has been received on the Island so you will need to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

You must ensure you provide everything that is requested, exactly as asked for, together with supporting documentation (e.g. certified passport photos, certified proof of qualifications, medical and police clearances/criminal checks). Note that it is best to assemble the relevant paperwork and submit it to your new employer as a single package rather than submitting documents separately.

Additionally, be sure to return your completed package by courier (as opposed to air mail, recorded delivery). This is the only way of ensuring that your application is received promptly and even then it can take a few days longer than they claim. You'll normally be allowed to reclaim the cost of this as part of your relocation package.

Some employers ask that you scan and email them what you plan to send by courier, just to make sure for themselves that everything is in order (they know how strict Immigration can be), and to avoid the risk of anything needing to be resubmitted later

Additional information 

Work permits for Bermuda
Work permits for the British Virgin Islands
Work permits for the Cayman Islands

Need help with your CV?

Note that any information provided on our website regarding work permits is for guidance purposes only and is not a substitute for taking independent professional advice where required. 

 

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