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Old 12-07-2008, 04:47   #1
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Legal Work in the Caribbean?

Does anyone know what islands in the Caribbean are *legal* to work in if you are:

1) An American Citizen?

and/or

2) An Irish (EU) Citizen?


Still trying to sort things out. Wife wants to go South and is sick of being cold. Would like to head to Spain, but the costs look too prohibitive to do a trans-Atlantic, pay the fees, then try and figure out where I can anchor and work. Caribbean might be easier.

PS: How do you all deal with hurricanes? I used to get out of there when the season was on working on megayachts.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:56   #2
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Sean,

I've not tried to find a job here on Nevis, but I know that non-citizens are required to obtain Work Visas before being allowed to work, and they are not easy to get. Typically, you would need to be able to provide a skill not widely available in the local workforce, and you would need to have a "sponsor" lined up to give you employment. I would imagine that the other Caribbean nations are the same.

As a U.S. citizen, you would be allowed to work in Puerto Rico and the USVI, with no restrictions. Of course, the competition is fierce.

p.s. I have my boat strapped down to yard anchors on a concrete pad in Antigua for the hurricane season. If I were living on it, I'd be in Trini, Venezuela or Bon Aire, I think.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:11   #3
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Everyone else's life is sooooooooo simple to sort out

To be honest I think you are being way too boat centric - why not mothball (or sell!) the boat and then go to Spain / The Caribbean / elsewhere for 6 months or a year to pick up some work and learn the lay of the land? with a view to moving the boat accross / buying someone else's broken dreams.

But IMO you are still going to have to make some compromises between living somewhere "nice", with good weather, affordable to live......whilst working (as little as possible?) in a job you enjoy. For decent money. With a nice boat.

IMO the "Trick" would be to run / buy your own bizness - but something decent that did not involve you working 24/7 to financially standstill will require some stake $$$. and not just debt......have you thought about getting into a Seasonal Business? Maybe something Tourism related in a place with a 4/5 month season? Probably be full on work for the season and living ashore - but rest of the year could be living on the boat somewhere warm / cruising RTW in your own time. Earn in "proper" money. Spend in "Local".......
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:14   #4
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Thanks, Hud. Helpful reply.

I didn't know that as a US citizen could work in PR, so that's news to me. What I am hoping is that my Irish (EU) citizenship will allow me to work in other islands (BVI? Netherland Antilles? Etc?) that are associated with the EU, in the same way my US citizenship allows me to work in USVI and PR.

Hurricane season is a big factor for me, since our boat represents multiples our net worth. I can't loose her. That pretty much forces me down into the other end, by Trinidad and Tobago, Netherland Antilles and Venezuela, like you said. I wonder if I can work in any of those and eek out a living...

It's hard to find a way to even move to a more comfortable climate, nevermind cruise in one!

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
Sean,

I've not tried to find a job here on Nevis, but I know that non-citizens are required to obtain Work Visas before being allowed to work, and they are not easy to get. Typically, you would need to be able to provide a skill not widely available in the local workforce, and you would need to have a "sponsor" lined up to give you employment. I would imagine that the other Caribbean nations are the same.

As a U.S. citizen, you would be allowed to work in Puerto Rico and the USVI, with no restrictions. Of course, the competition is fierce.

p.s. I have my boat strapped down to yard anchors on a concrete pad in Antigua for the hurricane season. If I were living on it, I'd be in Trini, Venezuela or Bon Aire, I think.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:18   #5
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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Everyone elses life is sooooooooo simple to sort out

To be honest I think you are being way too boat centric - why not mothball (or sell!) the boat and then go to Spain / The Caribbean / elsewhere for 6 months or a year to pick up some work and learn the lay of the land? with a view to moving the boat accross / buying someone else's broken dreams.

But IMO you are still going to have to make some compromises between living somewhere "nice", with good weather, affordable to live......whilst working (as little as possible?) in a job you enjoy. For decent money. With a nice boat.

IMO the "Trick" would be to run / buy your own bizness - but something decent that did not involve you working 24/7 to financially standstill will require some stake $$$. and not just debt......have you thought about getting into a Seasonal Business? Maybe something Tourism related in a place with a 4/5 month season? Probably be full on work for the season and living ashore - but rest of the year could be living on the boat somewhere warm / cruising RTW in your own time. Earn in "proper" money. Spend in "Local".......
I really do like the "earn in proper money, spend in local money" philosophy. Very nice... I have been thinking about that a lot, actually. Will explore this idea for a bit and see. Can I anchor in Palma De Mallorca, Valencia, or other Spanish/Catalonian ports for free? I was actually thinking about bringing this boat over, anchoring and working in those hot spots in the boating industry (my own company, of course! I can't work for others.. too pig headed... ha ha!)
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:19   #6
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Sean,

Here's what Antigua requires. I have to believe that the other British-heritage countries here in the Lesser Antilles would be no different.

"Anyone that is not a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, temporary resident and does not have an Antigua and Barbuda Passport , a work permit is mandatory. If an employer proceed to hire any of the person that fit the description above can face charges or imprisonment."

More information here: Government of Antigua and Barbuda
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:29   #7
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G'day Sully,

If you don't mind me asking (if you're still talking to us since the other thread ), what is it you do? I already know about the charter stuff but I also assumed that you were also into technology stuff? Maybe you can work from your boat & use an offshore corp?
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:42   #8
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Hud is right, the ex British territories all require work permits and they will only take you if you can do what cannot be done locally. In The British Overseas Territories (BVI, Anguilla, Turks & Caicos {ok, not technically Caribbean - but close enough}) the rules have interestingly been changed in that citizens of these territories may now live and work in UK and, therefore, by extension, the EU. There are however, no reciprocal rights...Brits cannot work in the territories without the normal Immigration and Work Permit requirements.

The French islands are "Departements d'outre Mer" (DOM) which means they are treated as Departements of metropolitan France. So, technically, a EU citizen should be able to work. But the French have ways of making things difficult for non locals and if you dont speak French you can realistically forget it! I dont know the Dutch set-up but remember that the Netherlands Antilles are changing and sort of going independent (isnt Aruba, or is it Curacao, already independent?)

Starting your own business is possible but the business plan has to meet the local government approval and a Trade Licence has to be obtained. It helps if you are going to employ locals as well.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:12   #9
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Thank you very much, bvimatelot. Very helpful info, as well.

This is some of the "first hand" knowledge I was hoping for. I didn't know they would make it difficult for non-locals to work in the French islands... only with experience can someone know that. Thanks.


The whole idea of having your business plan approved by the government is something that has me worried. In the States, we have something called a "sole proprietorship" Basically, it means you are working for yourself as an independent, and you can engage in business, treating your business income as personal income. It's a very simplified business organization compared to corporations and is meant for the electrician, plumber, or someone just doing some work who doesn't need a corporation.

Can you do something like this in Europe in general? I have had some trouble finding the info on that. My plan is to do boat work - which I have already been doing lately. I have been doing consulting and repair work on boats (chartering was aborted when we fell in love with this boat and decided it's the right one for us). I've even been doing consulting for a few members of this board.

ExfishNZ - I was very technical early in life. College degree in Physics, worked for NASA (and with ESA), then as computer programmer, then in international sales, then opened my own software company in Manhattan, then 9/11 trashed it, then went to work on megayachts, and now here I am...
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:25   #10
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ExfishNZ - I was very technical early in life. College degree in Physics, worked for NASA (and with ESA), then as computer programmer, then in international sales, then opened my own software company in Manhattan, then 9/11 trashed it, then went to work on megayachts, and now here I am...
Well, like you said the other day in another thread, our life's are similar, yet took slightly different ways of getting there. Sorry mate, not sure what else to add, with exception that even though we're in a global downturn, I've got plenty on in regards to writing software for company's to evaluate their workforce & look at cutting the fat (i.e. sacking people[1]). Maybe you might find similar up your way?

[1]Like someone else here mentioned recently, maybe I am on the “wrong side of the angels”
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:25   #11
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Well, Sean, as for the French (bless 'em) they make it difficult for non locals in mainland France as well!! (Although Paris is full of Algerians......!!)

Small Businesses (in UK anyway - so presumably also EU) can be run in the way you described and the expression is "Sole Trader". Any old Joe can start a business in that way - I used to have one myself! I am currently a "sole trader" in BVI in that I have a Trade Licence, which as a business then gives me the permission to apply for a Work Permit (to run my own business) and then Immigration see you as a businessman and allow you to stay here! This costs me $1025 per year in government fees and of course you are then into paying tax and social security.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:35   #12
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Thanks, Hud. Helpful reply.

I didn't know that as a US citizen could work in PR, so that's news to me. What I am hoping is that my Irish (EU) citizenship will allow me to work in other islands (BVI? Netherland Antilles? Etc?) that are associated with the EU, in the same way my US citizenship allows me to work in USVI and PR.
I believe it use to be that, if you were a citizen of the British Commonwealth, you were afforded certain privs in other commonwealth states. They varied but employment might have been one of them.

I dont know what the state of the commonwealth is now given the rise of the EU. Perhaps some of the Aussies and Kiwis would know?

?
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:48   #13
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Well, Sean, as for the French (bless 'em) they make it difficult for non locals in mainland France as well!! (Although Paris is full of Algerians......!!)

Small Businesses (in UK anyway - so presumably also EU) can be run in the way you described and the expression is "Sole Trader". Any old Joe can start a business in that way - I used to have one myself! I am currently a "sole trader" in BVI in that I have a Trade Licence, which as a business then gives me the permission to apply for a Work Permit (to run my own business) and then Immigration see you as a businessman and allow you to stay here! This costs me $1025 per year in government fees and of course you are then into paying tax and social security.
Ha ha... yes, the French have a unique culture (which I do actually like to sample from time to time!).

The "sole trader" is exactly what I would like to set up. So I assume the islands (as well as Spain and other EU member states) will understand what a "sole trader" is, charge me a reasonable fee ($1025 is reasonable) and I can get to work?

This is really how we're looking to set up, in a location where we don't have to pay for heat, nor migrate with the seasons to avoid hurricanes.

Spain is very high on the list, if I can figure out if we can live/work from anchor there using a "sole trader" business formation for a reasonable fee. If the Atlantic Crossing is deemed to expensive, we may set up in the Caribbean.

Either way, we are hot on the trail to move.

Which reminds me... I need a Hydrovane or hydraulic auto pilot soon.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:54   #14
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Because of serious unemployment, it was extremely difficult to find a job in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands if your weren't born there. The population is becoming better educated, and its less likely that a gringo would have a skill not found on the Islands all ready. That pretty much rules out all craftsmen and technician jobs. And they already have enough Brain Surgeons. Few cruisers have a big enough kitty to pay someone else cash to do something they think they can do, and they usually can get a lot of help for a beer or two, or a fresh caught lobster!

So it seems if you want to work while you're cruising, you have to bring it with you.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:56   #15
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Well, like you said the other day in another thread, our life's are similar, yet took slightly different ways of getting there. Sorry mate, not sure what else to add, with exception that even though we're in a global downturn, I've got plenty on in regards to writing software for company's to evaluate their workforce & look at cutting the fat (i.e. sacking people[1]). Maybe you might find similar up your way?

[1]Like someone else here mentioned recently, maybe I am on the “wrong side of the angels”
This post had me laughing! ha ha

I used to do the same thing. My software company in Manhattan looked at a client's business processes, optimized them (sacked people and departments), then wrote custom software (or modified out of the box) to write applications that perfectly mirrored the business processes.

Because we mirrored them so well, the users had very little to no training in order to use our applications.

Was a great little company until... kaboom. No work for many months following that, then Bergen County, NJ took me for $60K on a project. My mistake on not being thorough on paperwork, and for trusting people. Live and learn.
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