The BVI comprise over 50 islands in the Caribbean, a short flight from Puerto Rico and an hour and a half from Miami. The biggest island, Tortola, is 20 miles long and 5 miles wide, with a population of approximately 25,000 people. The islands boast hilly terrain offering spectacular views. The beaches are stunning and the BVI offers some of the best sailing and diving conditions in the world.
Tortola is a major offshore centre, with purportedly over 40% of the world’s companies formed there. There are a number of excellent schools, a state of the art hospital, cinema complex and other amenities. All of the leading offshore firms boast offices in the BVI, with Harneys the market leader.
Salaries are excellent and range from US$145k for an Associate with 2 years’ PQE to US$210k for a Senior Associate. Partners earn from US$230k to in excess of US$1 million.
Bonuses are very good and firms will pay for relocation costs and flights to assist in your move.
Personal tax is only 8% and the cost of living is slightly cheaper than London, so disposable income is much higher than onshore.
You must be admitted in the Eastern Caribbean or England and Wales to work as a lawyer in the BVI. A work permit must also be obtained, which will require you to complete a medical and obtain a police clearance certificate. No further exams need be taken.
Married spouses may reside in the BVI, although a separate work permit is required if they also wish to work. Unmarried partners must obtain their own permit to reside and work in the BVI.
The BVI enjoys warm sunny weather all year round and the scenery and proximity to work make for an idyllic lifestyle. Accommodation is reasonable and most houses come with their own pool. The water-sports and in particular the sailing, are very popular, as is the sports club and other amenities on the Islands.
The BVI has good schools, particularly for younger children. There are also number of bars and quality restaurants to choose from.
The standard working hours in the BVI compare favourably to onshore firms, particularly when the absence of commute time is taken into consideration. The BVI’s attorneys enjoy excellent work and clients, whilst benefiting from the relaxing Caribbean pace of life on their weekends.