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moving to BVI

Tortola
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17 posts
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moving to BVI

I may be relocating to BVI and would like some advice/ tips on where are the best areas to look at moving to, how expensive is it to live there and is there plenty to do there to keep occupied?

Dublin, Ireland
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12 posts
62 reviews
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1. Re: moving to BVI

I live in Tortola, BVI and can't wait till my contract is up at the end of the year.

It is v expensive to live here - same as living in Manhattan or similar large city. However here there little or no choice for many things.

Other than watersports, there is nothing to do. There is no cinema, theatre, bowling alley, etc. on any of the islands. Socially, it is v hard to get to meet people.

And the bureacracy of getting a work permit, driving licence, etc is very riddled with red tape that changes depending on who you talk to within the various depts.

Crime is higher than reported, I know of several people this year who have had their houses broken into (while they were sleeping), wallets, purses, cars and boats stolen. And the police don't really want to know about the crime as it has happened to white people.

Prices for rent, restaurants, cars, etc are dependent on your skin colour too - whites are precieved to have more and therefore get charged more.

If you really, really want to relocate, make a trip first and see what you think.

Tortola
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17 posts
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2. Re: moving to BVI

Thanks for the info LuckyMe63! =)

Well here’s the status of my BVI application. I just submitted my work permit papers last week to my employer. Someone told me that it would take 4-6 weeks for the approval of the work permit. Do you have any idea regarding this? I’m thinking about the timing of my resignation.

I will be working in an accounting firm there for 2 years and relocating alone. This is going to be my first time to work abroad.

Prior to accepting the offer at BVI, I also have a Bermuda offer- Big 4; I declined it since the pay is pretty much the same and believing that the cost of living in BVI is much lower compare to Bermuda. Well, I don’t have enough cash to travel to BVI and I only gather information thru the Internet. A forum like this is really helpful.

One of my friends in Bermuda told me that the rents there are astronomical and the cost of an unfurnished one bedroom apartment usually starts at $1,500 and up. I’ve seen some BVI classifieds online, usually rents starts at $800.Some people also told me that usually they spend $2000 for their monthly spending in BVI or I may be totally wrong.

Also the 4x4 since I usually take a public transport here in Manila and I believe that car is a necessity there. I will enroll next week for a driving class. How about the road and the traffic there?

I’m Asian and is that a good thing or not when it comes to the pricing of the goods and services?

I think it's the same thing with living in Bermuda and Cayman Islands, or BVI the drawbacks are that you’ll be confined to the limited choices on the island and the high cost of living.

I’m looking forward in working at BVI and also the approval of my work permit. Thanks again LuckyMe63!

Stuart, Florida
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396 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: moving to BVI

I have lived in the British Virgin Islands for 18yrs (on Virgin Gorda). Lucky Me obviously has not had a good experience living on Tortola. First of all, it sounds as though you are taking an accountancy job at a financial services firm. Am I correct? If so, you're permit should not take more than 6 weeks, but you never know with our current government. They are tightening up in the amount of new permits being issued. The length of time will depend on your employer and how good or bad their relationship with Labour and Immigration has been. There is no difference in the price of goods and services according to skin colour in the BVI! Sure a family member or friend of the person offering the goods and services may get a lower price, but that is the same anywhere in the world. Rents will be higher in more desirable areas (like anywhere else) and again you won't pay more or less whether you are Asian, Black, White, Green, or Purple! I'm white, but get discounts at shops and restaurants because I give discounts to their owners and employees, or am a regular. I've never been charged more than anyone else for anything because I am white, that is absurd! Although, you may get charged more for something, if you are rude or have a bad attitude! As far as accommodation choices, I would contact your future employer for a real estate agent who can find an apartment in your desired price range. Remember, the better/nicer the area, the higher the price! The estate agent can also give you more information on the different areas. Cost of living can be high here if you go out to eat alot, use huge amounts of electricity (which is VERY expensive here!), and drive a gas guzzling SUV, but it all depends on the choices you make. No, there is not alot to do here, although a new Cineplex and bowling alley are under construction in Road Town. If you like sailing, diving, snorkelling, boating, kayaking, beach going, or any kind of watersports, than it's paradise! It is not difficult to meet people socially in the BVI. If you are working in the financial services sector, it is likely you will have no problem getting to know all of the people in that social circle! The Dove in Road Town has a great Friday Happy Hour, and it is very likely that you will meet many people in your field there. Driving on Tortola can be a very interesting experience. Road Town traffic gets worse every year, and the roads (outside of town and the road to West End), are mountainous, steep terrain. It takes some time getting used to, but you will adjust. The best advice I can give you is be Patient and Polite. Things move slower here, so don't get in a huff if you have to wait for something. Always say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening/Night before saying or asking for anything else. This is a big deal here. It is customary to greet someone and ask how they are before anything else. Don't wear revealing clothing or bathing suits when you go into shops or restaurants(no bare midriffs). Remember, you are a guest in someone else's country. If you respect local customs, and are respectful of the local people, you will get along fine! Best wishes on your new adventure!

Lu2
BVI
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148 posts
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4. Re: moving to BVI

Sounds as though someone had a tough time - I'm sorry to hear this.

Yes, we have lots of red tape, and things are slower here.

Try the following for housing:

www.caribbeanrealtybvi.com

www.trudebvi.com

There's plenty to do if you look for it, and there are all sorts of communities that have regular events. THere is, I admit, a bit of a clamp down on permits but if your company is employing you for a genuine reason, there should be no problem.... as has been mentioned, courtesy goes a very long way.

Tortola
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17 posts
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5. Re: moving to BVI

Hi Yank. Good day! =) Hope all’s well.

Thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it. I’m an audit senior and will be working in one of the accounting firms in Road Town. I talked to the HR of my employer and they told me that employees of the firm are mostly expatriates and they are taking in 4 from the Philippines including me this season. My work permit documents were submitted last Monday and I hope I could get it within 6 weeks. I’m worried about the approval of my work permit

That’s very nice to know that skin colour is not an issue there. I know BVI is a top financial offshore centre and would be very open when it comes to diversity just like Bermuda or the Cayman.

My employer will provide two weeks of accommodation for me and I’ll follow your suggestion re: real estate agent. Actually I do have a rough idea on the cost of living at BVI like for example:

Rents $800-$1,200, one month deposit, 6 to 12 months

Utilities initial deposits: $300 telephone, $100 electricity,

Utilities monthly bills $20 telephone, $50 electricity

4x4, cost $5,000 to $8,000 for good car,

$50 a week for food

Could you give me an idea on how much will I spend for other things?

Do you have like a Marks & Spencer shop there or maybe something similar to that?

I think trying all that water sports you mentioned is a very good idea. But I can’t swim another problem hahaha =) maybe I’ll just hang out at the beach whilst visiting the other islands. I know that the expat community is really nice, warm and really helpful.

I hope my driving lessons will get me geared up for that traffic and get used to the steep roads, bad for me. I know that there is no regular public transport servicing BVI, so I really have to get a ca and have no choice but to drive. My employer will be providing some sort of car loan, and since it’s a loan I still have to pay for that anytime soon.

I have to make sure to get my homework done before it's time to move! Can’t wait for my work permit! =)

Thanks for the help!

Stuart, Florida
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396 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: moving to BVI

You have underestimated your costs on a few things. $50.00 a month for electric is too low. $85.00 - $150.00 per month for a one bedroom apartment or studio is more accurate, it will be higher if you use air con. $20.00 a month for your phone would only be if you made no phone calls at all and forget about long distance or internet access. If you want internet, dial-up or DSL, you will have to be prepared to pay more. I would estimate closer to $100.00 per month for telephone. Also, $50.00 per week for food is way too low, unless you plan on eating rice and beans every day and never go out for a meal. Grocery prices are high here, and you will likely pay double what you are thinking. You will probably be able to find a decent used car for between $6,000.00-$12,000.00. No Marks & Sparks, franchise and chain stores are not allowed here, shopping is pretty limited, but you can always hop a ferry to St. Thomas for any goods that you can't find on Tortola (also at lower prices). The cost of living is pretty high here, so most of your budgeting estimates are a liitle low. You will probably be able to find a decent apartment for $800.00-$1200.00 per month. The price we pay for living in paradise! Best wishes!

USA
5 posts
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7. Re: moving to BVI

Speedy: If you want the definitive site for BVI info, go to and register on:

www.traveltalkonline.com

There is none better, and the members (free) are more than willing to help you to the extreme. Check it out!

Good Luck!

HighandDry5280

USA
5 posts
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8. Re: moving to BVI

Speedy: If you want the definitive site for BVI info, go to and register on:

www.traveltalkonline.com

There is none better, and the members (free) are more than willing to help you to the extreme. Check it out!

Good Luck!

HighandDry5280

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
12 posts
62 reviews
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9. Re: moving to BVI

I think the costs mentioned by Yank are fairly accurate for Tortola too.

And I believe that Virgin Gorda is friendlier than Tortola. However, I do not take back anything I wrote. There is discrimination. I work in the watersports industry where discounts are offered to locals but have yet to find anywhere that reciprocates.

Yes, there is a cinema complex being built in RoadTown, but I have seen little progress in the building in the past 10 months.

Tortola
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17 posts
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10. Re: moving to BVI

I just got a hold my work permit letter yesterday thru post. It took 15 working days for its approval.

I’m thinking that the work permit letter will suffice along with the medical and police clearance, but then I have to get a UK overseas territory visa. This will take around 15 days so I hope to get this within 30 days.

FYI, the medical result must be dated within 30 days of your arrival in the island.

I hope that everything will work out smoothly.