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despair3218 Oct 1st, 2015 10:31 PM

Jobs prospects in Caribbean
Hi everybody! I have searched this a lot on internet but could not find any answers.

Anyway, I am a Pakistani national and I am considering moving to Caribbean for work. I am an auditor by profession, working in one of the largest international audit firms' office in my country, and my professional body allows me to obtain membership of the local chartered accountants institutes in Caribbean. This means that I will be legally eligible to practice audits in most Caribbean countries, and further the institutes of whom I am able to get membership are are the highest levels of institutes of their kinds. In other words, being a chartered accountant is the highest level of qualification an accountant/auditor can get in Caribbean. Moving on, I have found that I will not need visa to enter Trinidad and Tobago, so my first priority is Trinidad followed by Barbados, Bahamas and so on.

I want to know what are the chances of me securing a job in my field in Caribbean (more importantly Trinidad). And further if anyone can vouch for this statement, I will need to enter on a tourist visa and then look for a job, once I find it, my employer can file for my work permit. Is that right?

Any responses will be greatly appreciated.

despair3218 Oct 2nd, 2015 02:06 AM


RoamsAround Oct 2nd, 2015 05:50 AM

Finding employment in the Caribbean is difficult but not impossible. A lot depends on your qualifications and the employment needs of the island country where you wish to work.

Regardless of your qualifications, unless you are a citizen of a particular Caribbean island you cannot work on that island without first obtaining a Work Permit which is, very often, difficult to get.

You must possess a unique skill (being a CPA or Chartered Auditor may or may not meet that requirement) and you must find an employer who is willing to sponsor you. That employer must also prove to the local government that there are no "locals" qualified to fill that position (this is probably the biggest hurdle you will encounter).

If those conditions are met the government will consider your application but there's never any guarantee the Work Permit will be issued. If granted you will have to pay the required fees (which vary from island country to island country but are usually several $1,000's). The Work Permit is valid only for that particular position and must be renewed annually (requiring additional fees each year). There are no guarantees the Work Permit will be renewed.

While laws vary from island nation to island nation normally you can enter the country on a visitor's visa to search for work but you CANNOT overstay your visitor's visa and once you find a willing employer/sponsor you CANNOT remain on the island while your application for the Work Permit is being processed. Once your sponsoring employer submits your application the entire process can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months.

Go to the official government websites for the island nation(s) where you are considering working for detailed information on requirements necessary to obtain a Work Permit on tat particular island.

You might find the following website helpful:

RoamsAround Oct 2nd, 2015 06:12 AM

Let me add: Generally speaking, unless you have a very specialized skill that is in high demand (think brain surgeon) it is very difficult to find employment in the Caribbean using the internet or without actually making face to face contact with potential employers. You see, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people have the same dream as you and employers are often inundated with email inquiries from job applicants who say they are relocating to that particular island and are looking for work.

Over the years, the employers have learned that the vast majority of those applicants NEVER actually show up so most employers never even bother to consider applications form someone who is not already on that island.

So, your best bet, is to make a visit to the island(s) where you think you might like to work and search out potential employers.

Good luck in your search

mnag Oct 2nd, 2015 07:46 AM

Interesting qns. I'll take a stab since I am also a CPA. If you are already working for a large international audit firm (presumably one of the big 4) I would think your best bet would be to see if you qualify for an internal transfer to one of the caribbean destinations.The lareger financial hubs in the caribbean are Bermuda and Grand Cayman. There may be other islands ofcourse but those are the bigger ones. In other words have your firm sponsor your application. Maybe its not that easy because of the level of competition.

despair3218 Oct 2nd, 2015 12:36 PM

mnag and RoamsAround thanks for your responses. though I am not employed in the big 4, still my firm is among the top 10 in the world and is very well known among the accountants/auditors. But regardless of that, getting international transfer is next to impossible for me. and @RoamsAround I think you are right. I will have to make a trip to the island and I do realize that employers will be unwilling to consider an application of an applicant who is not physically present on the island. I guess I need to do some more research regarding the demand of my occupation in Trinidad or Barbados etc. But so far, I have come to the conclusion, by the number of practicing chartered accountant firms in Trinidad, that there is at the very least greater demand for chartered accountants in Trinidad than in my country, so that is a positive sign, but I'll have to do some more research.

rogandgee Oct 6th, 2015 04:49 PM

As a Caribbean person myself I believe that you have got very sound advice from both RoamsAround and mnag. Personal contact is vital and if an employer really wants somebody, they can make it happen usually.

Good luck.

leekb Oct 7th, 2015 12:58 PM

Hi, I just want to add that with the current price of oil and gas, many companies in Trinidad are downsizing (Trinidad's economy is almost solely dependent on that sector).

despair3218 Oct 8th, 2015 11:21 PM

Just an update, I have been in touch with some of the authorities that regulate my occupation in Caribbean, and with some people working in my industry (chartered accountancy). So far, I've heard that person with my qualifications and experience is likely to get a decent job, but of course, I will have to be psychically present there in order to avail those possible opportunities. So I will keep on doing research and keep you guys posted.

blamona Oct 9th, 2015 02:17 AM

All islands require physical present to get a job, and another catch, you can't work a single day even for free without a work permit.

So pick an island that attracts you, go visit! Spend time looking at companies, not sunning on the beach

Or even better, have your company help you!

Keep in mind that work permits are extremely costly, (and paid annually) and cost of living extremely high

RoamsAround Oct 9th, 2015 06:35 AM

I'm not trying to dash your hopes but it doesn't matter what - "the authorities that regulate my occupation in Caribbean, and with some people working in my industry (chartered accountancy)" - have to say about whether or not you can work in the Caribbean. It MATTERS ONLY what the Ministry of Labor (or similar government run agency) on the island where you plan to work decides. They have the final say when it comes to issuing any Work Permits.

Even if the Minister of Labor gives you encouragement during the application process nothing is ever "written in stone" until the Work Permit is actually issued and it can be revoked at any time. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, There are never any guarantees when it comes to the issuing and renewal of Work Permits.

For example, a few years ago I employed a "non-belonger" on my staff in the Caribbean. That individual had the proper Work Permit and was employed by me for several years. When it came time for the annual Permit renewal, the Minister of Labor arbitrarily decided that because the economy was in a slump and many locals were unemployed the government was not going to renew any Work Permits for any non-citizens employees during the coming year. As a result, I lost a valuable employee and that person had to leave the island.

I tell you this so you can become aware of how things really work in the Caribbean. It may not seem fair but those of us who live in the Caribbean often refer to it as "The Logic Free Zone".

Delishbajansauce Oct 24th, 2015 08:20 AM

RoamsAround has given you pretty much sound advice and good tips. Definitely not impossible to accomplish , but you will require assistance especially knowledge of the spoken and unspoken laws of the Caribbean with regards to work permits etc.

If you do have an organisation or bad that could assist rely heavily on their support.

Also look into to which Caribbean island you prefer and be in contact with the affiliated agencies ( general recruitment , if there is the option for specific accounting jobs etc and research any associated boards in your profession. It would be nice to have an idea of the job opportunities available ( usually larger firms would apply and endorse your work permit e,g KMPG) and do as much leg work as you can before visiting the island in terms of finding and applying to potential vacancies available .

Sadly work permits are not guaranteed to be renewed however, if you are in a financial position to meet the residency requirements of a country , sometimes it mean investing in real estate over a certain dollar amount ( for example a new policy in Barbados is any investment in real estate of 2Mil USD$ gives you a form of residency. You would need to research the criteria in other islands. It may mean investing in a business or other ventures in the economy and for some islands the amount is significantly less or more ( it varies from island to island). So it would be good to look at all angles that could improve your chances of and likely hood of being able to not only work but if you choose come and go as you please to work.

I would say do your due diligence and really go for it.

Good luck
Definitely keep us posted.

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