The concept of the Permanent Residents' Certificate (PRC) was introduced in 2002 with the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act to provide security of employment and residence to long term residents.
Origins and Evolution
The laws concerning Bermudian status are stringent and grants of citizenship (or "status") to non-Bermudians are rare, save for applications that result through marriage. This conservative approach has resulted in a significant population of long-term non-Bermudian residents, who for many years were accorded no rights or benefits of citizenship under the law.
Under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act, enacted in October 2002, long term residents with over 20 years of continuous residence and demonstrated good character and conduct could apply for a Permanent Residents' Certificate (PRC).
In January 2012, the rules governing the issuance of PRCs were changed with the Incentive for Job Makers Act 2011 (IJMA), which amended the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 and the Economic Development Act 1968. As a result, employers may now apply for an exemption to work permit requirements and, after 10 years, for the work permit holder to apply for a PRC.
Advantages and Benefits
The PRC is not a means to acquire status but it does offer certain benefits to certificate holders.
The principal advantage of a PRC is that it offers the holder the right to live and work in Bermuda without the need for a work permit, and thereby provides increased security of employment and residence. People with a Permanent Resident’s Certificate are entitled to reside in Bermuda, but they are not citizens and there is currently no prospect of them being offered citizenship.
The right to reside and work in Bermuda sets a PRC holder apart from other non-Bermudians.
Real Estate Benefits
PRC Holders also enjoy some other benefits in terms of real estate. A Permanent Resident may not purchase property on the same footing as a Bermudian, however, they are able to purchase certain properties that are not available to non-PRC international purchasers.
A PRC may now acquire property on the following basis:
In all other respects, they remain on the same footing as other non-Bermudians purchasers.
Like an international purchaser, a PRC requires a license from the Minister of National Security to acquire a Bermuda property. Applicants must complete the prescribed form and the application must be supported by a bank reference and two character references, preferably Bermudian.
Licenses are only granted in respect of a specific property and the application process may take up to six months. The license requires that the property is owned in the name of an individual - not a trust or company - and each license also contains restrictions on the property use:
The fee for the grant of a license issued by the Minister of National Security to an international person to acquire property in Bermuda is currently:
This fee, which is paid by the purchaser, must be received by the Minister before the license is issued and the license is required prior to the closing of the transaction.