Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Jordan Richardson, and his wife Jasmine Choy were growing weary of the beastly cold Canadian winters.

Also weighing on Jordan’s mind were the urgings of his wife, who was born in Guyana but moved to Canada as a teen with most of her family in the 1970s. Jasmine, however, made many trips to Barbados as some of her relatives shifted to the island during that period.

For Jasmine, Barbados was among her ultimate experiences and dreamed of returning to the Caribbean to live. The founder and lead advisor of the Toronto-based insurance brokerage firm Northwise Financial, Jordan quickly realised that while the pandemic threw up many negatives, there were some positives such as the proliferation of online business and remote work.

“Our family started strongly considering a move from Canada when the pandemic reared its ugly head,” he recalled.

In fact, the ability to operate his business and work remotely on a full-time basis emerged. It was a development that seemed highly unlikely prior to the pandemic.

“My online business actually picked up speed during the pandemic, which showed the promise of remote work, meaning I could do my job in Canada, the beach, the moon – it didn’t really matter as long as I have good internet. This development helped us pull the trigger to move our family to a totally new country,” he acknowledged.

For those who thought that Jordan and Jasmine’s decision to uproot from the place they called home along with their young children ages seven, five and two was made on a whim, that would be a wrong assumption.

“Our family was looking for a place with a warm climate. We had lived for many years in a harsh, cold climate, and knew we did not like it. We considered California, Florida, Costa Rica, Mexico, and others, but Barbados gave us the best combination of our family’s needs.

We were mainly prioritising safety, education, culture, cost of living and political climate, and through our research, and experience, determined Barbados would be the best fit. Although cost of living is definitely a concern in Barbados, we felt Barbados was top notch for all of our other considerations,” the Canadian couple affirmed.

As compelling as the United States was as the world’s leading economy, Jordan and Jasmine outlined how “uncomfortable” they were with the “gun violence and political unrest” there.

On the other hand, Mexico and South America’s affordability factor made them great options, however, when they factored in matters of safety and the education of their children, the destinations fell short.

According to Jordan: “All-in-all, Barbados ended up at the top of our list!”

With their Welcome Stamp 12-month visa approved, the family headed south for a new life on the island where his wife had always dreamed of residing.

“To date, Barbados has been living up to our expectations. Our children have been getting an extremely good education, and we really love the culture and way of life of Bajans. Importantly, we felt safe during our stay on the island. My biggest shock so far has been my electricity bill.”

With the pandemic over and the couple seriously considering Barbados as their second home, and contemplating citizenship, they do not see the need for any immediate improvements in the visa programme.

However, they would be more comfortable with long-term certainty in the programme and a simplified process that leads to possible Barbadian citizenship.

“It seems likely that this programme will continue on, but if it were to be cancelled for any reason, this would mean uprooting my family to go back to Canada. It would be nice to have some long-term security when making such a big decision to move your family to another country,” Jordan outlined.

For more information on the Barbados Welcome Stamp programme see Visit Barbados.