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Job Search - Moving to Caribbean?

Old Sep 30th, 2010, 04:26 AM
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Job Search - Moving to Caribbean?

Hello,
I'm 25 years old, in the business/finance/marketing world and looking to make a big life change....Does anyone have any suggestions/advice/guidance on how I would go about looking for a job somewhere in the Caribbean? This is preliminary as I'm looking to do it for next summer, but I figure I could start now, narrowing down choices and options...I don't even know where to start...

Anything would be greatly helpful...Thank you.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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What nationality are you?

Much easier to more to an American island (like Puerto Rico; US Virgin Is) if you're American or to islands like St. Martin/ St. Barts/ Guadeloupe if you're European.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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to move not 'more'
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 06:53 AM
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I'm American! I'd be moving from Boston!
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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As a US citizen you'll find it infinitely easier to relocate to Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra or any of the US Virgin islands as you'll already have citizenship/work status. There's an excellent website (www.vimovingcenter.com) where you can find tons of information about living/working in the USVI's. They even have a very active forum where you can find answers to all your questions. It will take weeks to read all the information on the website but it is well worth the effort if you are serious about relocating.

To relocate to any other island in the Caribbean will require you apply for residency, a process that normally requires you invest a large sum of money (think in terms of $100,000's) in a residence or business that provides jobs for locals. Having residency status on those islands does not necessarily give you the right to work. For that you'll need a Work Permit which is often not easy to obtain. Normally you must possess a unique skill and your potential employer must prove to the local Labor Department that there are no locals qualified to fill the position. The laws regarding immigration and working vary from island to island so it is difficult to give you precise information in a brief response on a travel forum. If you are interested in pursuing living/working on one of the "non-US islands" you can obtain basic information by doing simple google searches using such topics as "Living and Working on NAME OF ISLAND", "Relocating to NAME OF ISLAND", etc.

Now for some practical information:
1) Do your research and by that I mean read all you can. Do internet searches on topics relating to living and working in the Caribbean. There's lots of information out there if you take the time to look. Get your information first hand, don't rely on a few responses you get from a travel forum.

2) Plan on making a Pre-Move Visit to the island(s) of your choice BEFORE you actually make the move. Don't go as a tourist or think of it as a vacation but rather try living like a local - go grocery shopping, do laundry, do the same everyday chores you do "back home" so you find out what daily life is like on the islands. Living/working in the islands is far different then being there on vacation.

3) Keep in mind that as a general rule living expenses are usually much higher and wages are much lower than in most parts of the US - that's the Catch-22 of living/working in the Caribbean. Many times it takes 2 jobs just to earn a decent living.

4) Save up some money as start up expenses tend to be quite high. For instance if you plan on renting you'll have to to pay the first and last month's rent plus a one month security deposit. A typical 1 BR apartment might rent for say $1,200/mo meaning you'll need $3,600 just to walk in the door. Add to that deposits for utilities plus other incidentals and money to hold you over until you find suitable employment and you could easily go through $5,000 to $10,000 in a couple of weeks or months.

5) Unless you have very specific skills most island based employers will not hire you until you are actually "on island" so it's going to be very difficult to do any meaningful job search over the internet or by e-mail.

Go to the VI Relocation website for more information.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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RoamsAround gave you excellent advice and I can't stress enough the advice to make a pre-move visit. I read a forum dedicated to St. Kitts and Nevis and there are a few people who have made the move to the islands. They love it but there are many frustrations--costs being the main one. And don't forget to look into the costs of shipping furnishings, a car, etc. You often pay a high duty on their value.

Have you any familiarity with the Caribbean? Just wondering what is drawing you there. Not that I wouldn't want to vacation there more, but I'm not sure I could live year round on the islands.

Some people who work for developers get jobs on the island as new projects are built. You might look at some of these new projects. Many companies are American and Canadian. Again you would have to be doing something that no local was qualified to do.

Good luck!
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:25 PM
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You can also check on the Dutch islands. Curacao, Bonaire or Aruba. Requirements are not much compared to ther islands..
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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As a US citizen USVI or Puerto Rico will be by far the easiest to move to legally.

Which islands in the Caribbean have you visited? Which ones did you like best?
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Old Oct 1st, 2010, 05:09 AM
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Thanks everyone! I'm definitely going to continue doing a ton of reading and look into finding a job down there...thank you!
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Old Oct 1st, 2010, 06:29 AM
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Have you considered buying or starting a business there? For example, we noticed a business for sale in Samara Costa Rica.

For $125,000, you could purchase the ONLY ice company and coin-op laundry in town. It came with a very nice two-bedroom home on a separate lot in the residential district and was a block from the beach. Even their ice delivery golf cart was included.

In downtown Isabela Puerto Rico right now, there is a deli for sale. I think they're asking $80K. It has a terrific following, but you'd have to be sure you could keep that up.

Consider all of your options. Also - have you been to the Caribbean?
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Old Oct 1st, 2010, 07:31 AM
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I can't imagine picking an island for permanent relocation just from "reading" about it. Especially if you have not been to the Caribbean before. There are so many islands, so very different one from the next (as far as the people, the history, the language, the landscape, the level of poverty or affluence, etc. etc.). I would start by planning some vacation trips, doing some traveling around to get a feel for the different islands.
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Old Oct 1st, 2010, 10:45 AM
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Someone on here wrote once:

"Do you know how to make 1 million $ in the Caribbean?"

"Invest 2 million!"

It's so true. Think long and hard before doing anything, and research it. Live like a real person, not a vacationer where ever you pick.

Many have lived the dream and it can be rewarding. But you have to know what you're getting yourself into.

Much good advice here.

My dream since 12 was to have a house somewhere in the Caribbean. Best thing I ever did. But it did require 6 years of research! Without the research, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into!
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Old Oct 2nd, 2010, 05:54 AM
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Although a bit dated, a must read is Herman Wouk's "Don't Stop the Carnival". Wonderful read, and many issues in the book are as true today as they were when the book was written in the late 50's.
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