Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Working in the Caribbean

So, I just moved back to my home state of Texas and the huge city of Houston after living off and on in the Caribbean for the past 3.5 years. I first moved to the Caribbean to take a job managing a hotel in St. Maarten, Dutch West Indies. I didn't want to go! In fact I cried as I reluctantly packed up my first "working girl" apartment in Dallas. I know most people without the commitment and given the opportunity would jump at the possibility, but I was afraid to leave my family and the conveniences of modern life i.e. Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, Banana Republic.

There are two ways basically (as in most countries) to work in the Caribbean: legally and illegally.


So you're going to the Caribbean with no jobs offers but you have some good skills like office work, computer skills such as web design, bartending, SCUBA instructor, or waiting tables. Once you have established yourself with a place to live you can start meeting the locals. Do not, under any circumstance, tell people you are there working illegally! But you can meet people who own businesses who may be looking for an office assistant or wait staff. Remember "don't ask, don't tell." If any one does ask, tell them you have applied for your papers and you're waiting for them to come through.


Well, this one is going to be tough and also depends on the island. I'm going to tell you about St. Maarten because I only know this way firsthand. First, you have to apply for residency and it's a lengthy and costly process. Even if you establish residency you are not allowed legally to work unless you have a potential employer willing to sponsor you and they can prove that they can't find a local who can do the same work. Another way of going about gaining residency is to start a business, which of course costs money and you must apply for a business license. If you're planning on doing it right, then you should definitely use the choice. If you choose to work illegally in the Caribbean you risk deportation at your own expense!

If you're a US resident you can of course work in the USVI or if you're a French national you can work in St. Martin, Guadaloupe, St. Bart, or any other French held island, same goes for those from the Netherlands.

No comments: