Recently, several countries in the Caribbean have opened their visa programs to accept American citizens for up to a year. The governments in Barbados and Bermuda are allowing people who can work remotely to take up residence in their country. With the way things are going in the US, this has many citizens looking to escape temporarily and permanently.
According to the Bambridge Accountants, "5,816 Americans gave up their citizenship in the first six months of 2020 which is a 1,210% increase on the prior six months to December 2019, where only 444 cases were recorded." Currently, the only two countries participating are Barbados and Bermuda, but there could be other countries that follow suit soon. Each country is introducing a program that outlines specific requirements for anyone who wants to participate with the Barbados program which opened on July 12 and Bermuda's program which opened on August 1.
So, why is this happening?
In a press release statement by Prime Minister Mottley of Barbados, he expressed a desire to create an environment that faciliated work and play for extended periods of time amid the global pandemic. "Why?" he asked rhetorically before elaborating, "Because we know that this is one of the best places on earth to be and to remain because of the care we will take to protect the people of this nation and those who are here on the island with us."
The aim of this is to offer business owners some relief during these trying times. These countries are also looking to boost their technology communities and economies. Glenn Jones, Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority also stated:
"This initiative paves the way for an infusion of economic activity for local businesses (and gives us) an opportunity to share our uncrowded open spaces and coveted island lifestyle with travelers from across the globe looking to work or study remotely."
As a remote worker, why should you consider this?
Over the last few months of 2020, the pandemic has caused many aspects of daily living to shift by the second. Add to that, the fact that COVID-19 is one of two pandemics Black people are currently in the midst of, with the other being racism. Living in this constantly volatile terrain is taking a toll on the mental health of Black people in this country, creating many negative impacts. For many, spending a few months in a more stable environment can possibly provide a sense of normalcy and bring about some much-needed balance.
After the death of George Floyd and the increase in messaging around #BLM, companies went on a crusade to prove they have always been about diversity and inclusion. Many times this has resulted in said companies turning to the few people of color on their teams to answer for what has been painfully obvious for years: the lack of diversity in their work environment. All of the posturing and marketing has led many Black professionals to feel unnecessary exhaustion at work. In a recent article in Fortune;
"Working abroad, these executives say they left behind the fatigue that many described as routine for Black people in corporate America: the exhaustion brought about by being asked to solve your company's diversity issues; living by the unwritten rules that dictate how you present yourself at work; having to prove every day that you deserve to be in your role. Once abroad, with the weight of their companies behind them, many Black expatriates said they felt instantly valued and treated with a level of respect and deference from their colleagues they had not known in the U.S."
As companies shift to an online model to accommodate a safe work space for their employees, this may be an ideal time to consider an extended vacation. For parents, this presents a unique opportunity with schools also shifting over to online digital learning, opening up the possibilities to study, or work, from anywhere. Both Bermuda and Barbados offer great internet service that can support any remote work situation and online school accessibility. A quick Google search shows that the cost of living is 12.48% higher in Barbados than the US but 48.83% cheaper in rent according to Numbeo.
There are many options for housing that are near or on the beach through Airbnb, with local shops and markets in close proximity. If you are not interested in the year option to stay abroad, you can also look at the 90- or 180-day option. In Barbados and Bermuda, you can stay up to 90 days with no visa if you are looking for a shorter getaway. With these options you can take as long and as short as you need. You can also commute back and forth as you like while following reentry policies. Now is a prime opportunity to take that vacation that has been sitting on your bucket list.
If you want to apply, here’s what to expect:
12-Month Barbados "Welcome Stamp"
- Individuals seeking to take advantage of the new visa initiative must be earning a minimum of $50,000 USD.
- Applicants must pass a character background check.
- Make sure all standard pre-requisite requirements for documentation are up to date when application is submitted. If you are planning on staying for up to 12 months you will be required to have the necessary insurance.
- You can take a spouse as well as family members.
- Individual: Fee of $2,000 USD
- Family Bundle: Fee $3,000 USD (Allows more than one member of the family to work remotely)
- If you are approved for the 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp, you will be able to re-apply at least two more times to extend your visa.
12-Month Bermuda "Work From Bermuda Certificate"
- Complete the application with the application fee of $263 USD.
- Complete the Bermuda Travel Authorization process online. A $75 USD fee is required and this will include the cost of the PCR COVID-19 testing in Bermuda.
- Children that are 9 years old and younger do not have to be tested at any point and will be charged a reduced fee of $30 for Travel Authorization.
- Children 10-17 must receive parental consent to be tested. If consent is denied, the young traveler must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
- Visitors must take a certified PCR COVID-19 test, 72 hours of departure, but no more than seven days, and obtain a negative result. This applies to adults and children aged 10 and up. Children who are 9 years old and younger are exempt but they are also subject to their adult travel companion's quarantine.
- Visitors must wear face masks when traveling to the departure airport.
- Visitors must wear face masks and practice physical social distancing at the departure airport.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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