The Caribbean and its many islands are exciting, warm, and inviting places to live and work. So, if you choose to move to the Caribbean, you must have knowledge and information to make the transition easy. There are three options available to work in the Caribbean as an Expat or as a digital nomad or remote worker. As the traditionally labelled Expat, you will be living and physically working outside of your normal country for a company in their Caribbean branch or would be a person who has obtained a job for a company in the host country. As a digital nomad, you will have the option of moving from space to space and working at any time you wish. The Caribbean has a new category of remote working where a person is given a specified time to work on an island for their job in their usual country, and actively work during those hours. For any category of worker you decide to be, four of the most important things you must consider before moving to the Caribbean are making sure you have a job, immigration requirements, cost of living, and health and safety.
Make Sure You Have a Job
Always ensure that you have a job first before moving to the Caribbean for work. Jobs in the Caribbean are limited, so it is essential that when moving to the Caribbean for work that you have initially secured a job, or that you are working remotely. Work in the Caribbean is not readily available even for its citizens, and the unemployment rate has significantly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Caribbean is highly protective of jobs for its citizens, and there is some unrest if a suitable and qualified resident is overlooked for a job in favour of an external person. The different governments of the Caribbean emphasise that their qualified citizens are given the first choice for employment opportunities.
Caribbean laws mandate that persons coming to work from the outside have a work permit and a work visa. A work permit provides the legal framework necessary to work in the Caribbean. Specific government agencies provide the permit on each island, and it is best to research this before moving.
A work visa is necessary for all persons who do not have permanent status and will be working in a company for some time. An application must be done for a work visa on the evidence of a confirmed offer of employment. Due to the loss of tourism travel to the Caribbean because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some islands have introduced a temporary visa and living-working arrangement for persons to work remotely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the Caribbean a more desirable place to work where people can enjoy the sunshine and fun atmosphere rather than being under strict lockdowns in other parts of the world when their work is location independent. Barbados is one of these islands which has introduced the ‘Welcome Stamp’ initiative where location unconstrained workers are provided with a visa to work remotely on the island for one year.
Health and Safety
Health is wealth, and that should be taken into consideration when moving to the Caribbean. The standards of health and safety may differ in the country to which the employee is traveling. One must research the health system in the island of choice that you will be residing in and the options that will be available to you. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it is best to note what the current quarantine and local laws are, and how they pertain to you. Please do not leave it to chance for when an emergency happens to then seek healthcare. Instead, research prior to your arrival and be aware of all local emergency contact numbers.
It will be imperative to always be up to date on the news on the particular island you will be working on. Looking out for bulletins from various embassies will identify which districts to avoid and any safety issues.
Cost of Living
The cost of living will be an important factor to consider when moving to the Caribbean. Various Caribbean islands differ, so it is crucial to research average rent, food, transportation costs, entertainment costs, and health costs. It will not be suitable to start living on an island and then determine that it is too costly for you.
The Caribbean is an enjoyable place to live and work, and that is why many people wish to relocate. Moving anywhere for work can be an ordeal, or it can be exciting if you are prepared. If these simple steps are followed, it helps facilitate your smooth transition to moving and working in the Caribbean.