Barbados is a wonderful place to live, work and play. With its sophisticated infrastructure, business-friendly environment and high quality of life ratings, Barbados is a highly attractive location from which to conduct international business. Residents of Barbados have access to a wide range of high quality accommodation and a safe and secure environment in which to live, as well as good health care and educational facilities. Being one of the world’s leading vacation destinations, the island offers superb dining and entertainment choices along with a wide range of world-class lifestyle activities such as golf, sailing, polo and cricket to name but a few.
Living on a small island, with warm water, sun and sand may seem very appealing at first. But, for many people, especially the typically more mature high net worth individual, the attraction of small island life pales after a while. Barbados’ relatively prosperous population, large expatriate community and tourism have led to a fairly diverse range of available services and good potential for day-to-day life enriching experiences. Barbados also has excellent telecommunication services and is very accessible so the individual may not have to sacrifice frequent contacts with friends and family, or the pursuit of a lifestyle that requires access to larger urban centres, with sophisticated services.
Ability to Become a Resident
The choice of jurisdiction may be significantly limited by the local legal requirements or the cost to become a resident of that jurisdiction. For all intents and purposes, certain low tax jurisdictions do not want new residents, even though they may welcome their money. They use outright prohibitions, or make it so expensive to become a resident that it is prohibitive for anyone but the extremely wealthy.
In Barbados’ case, non-working residents are welcome, with no minimum income or investment requirements, only a requirement to demonstrate good character and financial self-sufficiency.
Affordability is a significant factor for many in the choice of a residence jurisdiction. Many individuals considering leaving high tax jurisdictions are only moderately wealthy. But, arguably, it is the moderately wealthy that often have the most to gain from moving from a high tax jurisdiction. It may enable them to pursue a lifestyle of leisure and travel that they would not otherwise be able to afford.
In Barbados, you may purchase or rent whatever you may be comfortable with, in the open market. Cost of food, transportation, medical care, etc., vary considerably from country to country. A prospective Barbados resident from Europe may find the cost of living in Barbados quite acceptable. Many Canadians and Americans will find the cost of living at a comparable standard in Barbados considerably higher, depending upon which part of the country they are from.
How good, how frequent and how expensive are the flight connections? Some places are off the beaten path and living there may entail sufficient additional inconvenience and cost to weigh heavily against that particular jurisdiction. Barbados has daily connecting flights to and from all of the major centres of North America and Europe, generally at very competitive rates. With modern jet travel, Barbados is sufficiently accessible, yet sufficiently remote, to have considerable appeal to persons in both Western Europe and Central and Eastern North America.
Good telephone and other communication services, sophisticated financial and professional services, cannot be taken for granted. If one intends to do business from the jurisdiction of residence, or simply wishes to keep in touch, this is an important consideration on which to evaluate a jurisdiction. Barbados, with fibre-optic based telecommunications and recently enhanced competition, has few limitations, albeit costs are still significantly higher than onshore for comparable services.
Perhaps equally important is the adequacy of health care services. Barbados, while having some limitations in this regard, has a health care system which meets international standards in areas such as eye, heart and plastic surgery. In addition, given Barbados’ accessibility as discussed above, and in extreme cases the readily availability of Air Ambulance service, high net worth individuals can confidently seek out health insurance coverage suitable to their age and circumstances which will enable them to seek non-routine health services onshore from the service provider of their choice.
Consideration should be given to exchange restrictions or any other restrictions that might make it difficult or very expensive to remove cash or investments from a jurisdiction. While exchange controls do apply in Barbados at present, in practice, these have rarely proven a deterrent to investment of residence in Barbados.
Barbados is one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world, with solid systems of education, social support and justice. The general population is well educated and well aware of their dependence on the jobs that tourism, the international financial services sector and long-term expatriate residents provide.
All of these factors, plus the naturally welcoming character of the Bajan people, have made Barbados the choice of country of residence for an increasing number high net worth individuals from less “tax friendly” countries. And the weather isn’t bad either!