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Old 13-02-2014, 09:04   #1
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Working in the Carib

Hi there,

Many, many blogpost/forum topic have been written about making money afloat, and while all are very useful and interesting to read, a lot of the information is dated and not first-hand. This makes sense, as times change and any one blogger can only really give one first hand experience on the topic.

This poses some problems for the planning sailor though. Much like the never-ending budget debate, there is no one true answer; the difference being that in the budget debate you can make yourself an estimate after many hours of reading. With the "work while you cruise" topic, I'm having a really hard time figuring out wether I'll be able to make any money at all (let alone make an estimate),

So here's the story: I'm planning on doing an Atlantic circuit starting and ending in Europe. I will be blogging/vlogging, but I'm not counting on that making much money as I'm an amateur (correct me if I'm wrong and please do comment on it ). I have fully refitted my boat, so I know all basic boat-systems, but have no official qualification. I'm willing to crew or do deliveries, but obviously that would mean leaving my own boat alone... Lastly and most importantly I have an European passport, but not the slightest clue on how to turn that into a work permit in that neck of the woods.

My main concerns are the following:

- Are there work opportunities to be found in marina's/anchorages?
- Do said opportunities usually require one to set up camp in a certain area for a substantial amount of time?
- Is it still safely doable to do said work "under the radar"

Many thanks for any experiences/up to date info you can share!
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Old 13-02-2014, 09:25   #2
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Re: Working in the Carib

in most of the windward islands it is fairly easy to get a work permit these days if you have a skill that is needed,permit costs between $1000-2000 per year,and helps if you have a local sponsor.
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Old 13-02-2014, 09:46   #3
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Re: Working in the Carib

As an EU citizen you can work in the Caribe islands which belong to Holland, France,
Spain and may be the UK, without a work permit ,I think.
You can enquire in the EU country where you are now at the embassies/high commissions of the various islands e.g. Trinidad, Barbados, Grenada, etc since these
are independent. I have heard of Work Permits being needed in B.V.I.
etc
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Old 13-02-2014, 10:31   #4
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Re: Working in the Carib

$1,000 to $2,000 a year???? For a work permit? What are you a lawyer or a doctor? On top of that wouldn't there be taxes? I could see spending that much for a "permit" if I made more than $50g there but like the OP we would prolly make less than $10g while cruising and working place to place unless he charges doctor rates for scrubbing a hull!. Under the radar is more my cup of change...and why so big a range from 1 to 2 grand? I've not tried to work there and would be good info if it was accurate.
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:18   #5
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Re: Working in the Carib

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Originally Posted by Pwdrskr View Post
$1,000 to $2,000 a year???? For a work permit?
... why is $1 or 2k /yr unreasonable for a work permit?

You're not a citizen, you're a privileged yottie, you're taking work that could potentially go to a local...

Also, it keeps away the punters... if you can pony up the money for a work permit, you're probably serious about it, and anticipate making $10k plus. Why should it be made easy/cheap for any foreigner to sail in and take work?

I wouldn't have a problem with it, personally. How much do foreign yachters pay to get a work permit in the US?
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:26   #6
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Re: Working in the Carib

There's a lot of info on the government websites. Here's what St Kitts and Nevis requires simply to apply...

Quote:
Requirements Re Applying for a Work Permit

The applicant must have a prospective employer prior to applying
An application form comprising 24 questions
The applicant's birth certificate
The applicant's valid passport
A police certificate
A recent colour photo
An HIV test from a recognized institution
Cost - $EC 1,500 per year

The following documents or Certified Photocopies shall be submitted along with the application -

Birth Certificate
Passport
A Police Certificate or Affidavit
Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
Divorce Decree (if applicable)
Military Record (if applicable)
Affidavit of Support
Evidence of own assets
One (1) Passport size photograph
Birth Certificate of Spouse
Birth Certificate of each unmarried child under 18 years
Evidence of offer of employment (if applicable)
Results of an HIV test (not more than 6 months old)
$EC 1,500 is about $555 USD. The key is having a local employer to sponsor you. Also, you really do need to have a skill that can't easily be filled by locals. When I lived in Nevis, the government required the employer to demonstrate that he had tried to hire locals but was not able to find qualified applicants.

If you're transient (sailing from island to island) it would be very difficult to comply with the bureaucratic requirements in order to stay strictly legal, as it takes a lot of time and effort. The governments in the eastern Caribbean absolutely love bureaucracy!
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:50   #7
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Re: Working in the Carib

I know how work permits work in most countries, requiring a ton of paperwork, a local sponsor and a fee. Mostly this means it's very hard for people that don't already have a job with said sponsor or don't plan on working full-time for a year to get the permit and do any work legally.

However, from my travels I have also learned that the official rules and the way things are actually done in the field or enforced might be VERY different. Every country is going to have laws against tax-evasion (working under the radar), but apart from the treasury, all parties might be benefiting (and people might not really care about the treasury). Here in Belgium/Holland for example almost all marina's have one or more "handymen" on call that can fix pretty much anything for an hourly rate and live nearby. They don't have an official company or certification however, but both the marina, the handyman and the boatowner win. Only problem would arise when labour inspection was to turn up right when the handyman is fitting a new alternator to a stranger's boat. Needless to say this is very unlikely...

So, long story short, I think it's unlikely the legal route to obtaining a tax-paying job is going to be profitable at all. I will look into the fact that I'm an EU citizen and some islands might still have agreements with the EU. Other then that, I'm more interested in the option of doing work under the radar. Just as the local boatboys, I can't imagine they have a contract with a company that handles all the paperwork and accounting...

So is this type of work available at all and is it safely doable?
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:18   #8
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Re: Working in the Carib

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
I know how work permits work in most countries, requiring a ton of paperwork, a local sponsor and a fee. Mostly this means it's very hard for people that don't already have a job with said sponsor or don't plan on working full-time for a year to get the permit and do any work legally.

However, from my travels I have also learned that the official rules and the way things are actually done in the field or enforced might be VERY different. Every country is going to have laws against tax-evasion (working under the radar), but apart from the treasury, all parties might be benefiting (and people might not really care about the treasury). Here in Belgium/Holland for example almost all marina's have one or more "handymen" on call that can fix pretty much anything for an hourly rate and live nearby. They don't have an official company or certification however, but both the marina, the handyman and the boatowner win. Only problem would arise when labour inspection was to turn up right when the handyman is fitting a new alternator to a stranger's boat. Needless to say this is very unlikely...

So, long story short, I think it's unlikely the legal route to obtaining a tax-paying job is going to be profitable at all. I will look into the fact that I'm an EU citizen and some islands might still have agreements with the EU. Other then that, I'm more interested in the option of doing work under the radar. Just as the local boatboys, I can't imagine they have a contract with a company that handles all the paperwork and accounting...

So is this type of work available at all and is it safely doable?
I'm always a bit amazed at threads like this one asking about the ability to do illegal things. Then others advise how. Reality is you can work illegally in most places if that's your thing. I've chosen always to stay within the law and certainly not going to start advising people on a public form as to how to break it. That's what "under the radar" is, breaking the law and not getting caught.

I will warn you of one thing. Once you work outside the law then no laws will protect you. Someone doesn't pay, that's just tough. You have no legal standing. Anything else is much the same way.
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:26   #9
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Re: Working in the Carib

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
I know how work permits work in most countries, requiring a ton of paperwork, a local sponsor and a fee. Mostly this means it's very hard for people that don't already have a job with said sponsor or don't plan on working full-time for a year to get the permit and do any work legally.

However, from my travels I have also learned that the official rules and the way things are actually done in the field or enforced might be VERY different. Every country is going to have laws against tax-evasion (working under the radar), but apart from the treasury, all parties might be benefiting (and people might not really care about the treasury). Here in Belgium/Holland for example almost all marina's have one or more "handymen" on call that can fix pretty much anything for an hourly rate and live nearby. They don't have an official company or certification however, but both the marina, the handyman and the boatowner win. Only problem would arise when labour inspection was to turn up right when the handyman is fitting a new alternator to a stranger's boat. Needless to say this is very unlikely...

So, long story short, I think it's unlikely the legal route to obtaining a tax-paying job is going to be profitable at all. I will look into the fact that I'm an EU citizen and some islands might still have agreements with the EU. Other then that, I'm more interested in the option of doing work under the radar. Just as the local boatboys, I can't imagine they have a contract with a company that handles all the paperwork and accounting...

So is this type of work available at all and is it safely doable?
it would probably work great till the immigration put you in prison for working illegally with all the haitian and dominican republic illegals.........and boy those guys like a bit of white ass
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:44   #10
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Re: Working in the Carib

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
So is this type of work available at all and is it safely doable?
What you are asking is, is it safe for me to violate the law? Well sure! Of course it is!

That is, until you get caught.

Do lots of people do it every year, in almost every country in the world, without getting caught? Yes, of course.

Are there others who DO get caught, and end up being punished to the full extent of the law? Yes, again, of course.

Which will you be? I don't know. Do you feel lucky?
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:05   #11
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Re: Working in the Carib

I'm sorry if I have offended anybody by this topic, that wasn't my intention at all. I do believe in laws and follow them almost always. Don't get me wrong, I live in the country with the third highest tax-rates in the world, and I pay them without complaint.

I'm no fool however... I understand that it might be sensitive to discuss "illegal" matters on a public forum, just as I have learned first hand on MANY occasions that many economies (or parts of them) can impossibly continue to exist without some "under the radar" work. Belgium's construction and food/bev industry would crash instantly if all would be done "by the book". Many countries wouldn't have a tourist industry at all if all was done by the local book. Governments know this and in this light might or might not choose to enforce the laws. This is what I mean by being able to "safely" do this type of work.

I am not asking of anybody to help me break the law, it was but my hope that some people might have some insights on the local situation to share and help me make up my mind.

I'm no betting man, and I certainly don't trust luck to get me where I want to be. I asses risks, and make calculated decisions based on those assessments.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:11   #12
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Re: Working in the Carib

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Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
I'm sorry if I have offended anybody by this topic, that wasn't my intention at all. I do believe in laws and follow them almost always. Don't get me wrong, I live in the country with the third highest tax-rates in the world, and I pay them without complaint.

I'm no fool however... I understand that it might be sensitive to discuss "illegal" matters on a public forum, just as I have learned first hand on MANY occasions that many economies (or parts of them) can impossibly continue to exist without some "under the radar" work. Belgium's construction and food/bev industry would crash instantly if all would be done "by the book". Many countries wouldn't have a tourist industry at all if all was done by the local book. Governments know this and in this light might or might not choose to enforce the laws. This is what I mean by being able to "safely" do this type of work.

I am not asking of anybody to help me break the law, it was but my hope that some people might have some insights on the local situation to share and help me make up my mind.

I'm no betting man, and I certainly don't trust luck to get me where I want to be. I asses risks, and make calculated decisions based on those assessments.
You are asking people to help you break the law. You're wanting information that would assist you in then assessing risks and deciding whether to break the law and how. You've justified this by claiming various economies depend on illegal labor. Then a justification that if governments don't enforce the laws, it's fine to break them. What other laws do you think it's ok to break if you don't get caught? Sorry, but we can always justify what we're doing. Just don't say you're not asking of anybody to help you break the law. That's absolutely what you're doing.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:27   #13
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Re: Working in the Carib

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
... why is $1 or 2k /yr unreasonable for a work permit?

You're not a citizen, you're a privileged yottie, you're taking work that could potentially go to a local...

Also, it keeps away the punters... if you can pony up the money for a work permit, you're probably serious about it, and anticipate making $10k plus. Why should it be made easy/cheap for any foreigner to sail in and take work?

I wouldn't have a problem with it, personally. How much do foreign yachters pay to get a work permit in the US?
Lake-Effect, what I was getting at is that kind of money for a permit for a full year would be perfectly doable if I was to work for a year, but what if I'm a transient and need to make a little extra as I go? Do I pay every country for a permit to work for a week or two? I work for myself and do have skills that would be very welcome in any country. I do not want and wouldn't stay in one place illegally for a year and take a locals job though. I am new to cruising and do not have an unlimited bank account so I do what I gotta do to survive.

Sorry if I have offended you Lake-Effect, or anyone else here but there are a lot of people out there just like me and the OP that has worked our fingers to the bone just to get this far and are on a VERY limited budget. That being said I hope to add to my kitty any way I can for a hard days work. I just get a little taken aback at the costs of all of the fees. After I pay all of them I won't have any left to spend to help the economy of whatever country I'm in or to pay to leave and pay the next on and so on.

Edit...My apologies to the OP, didn't intend to hi jack. These kind of topics can get knarly...Peace!
Also I wish you the best on your journey, I'll be out there too somewhere living the dream and making it real!
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:33   #14
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Re: Working in the Carib

If you look at it like that ANY source of information could assist one in breaking the law. A question about gardening could be applied in pot farming, one about visas could be applied to traffic people. I do agree though that this particular question is not well "cloaked".

What I do is my responsibility, and I will consider all options. Nobody can be held accountable for anything I do.

Also the ethical side of this matter is completely off-topic. If the mods decide this question to be too much on the dark side of the gray, please lock and delete it. In that case, I want to offer my apologies once more to anybody that feels this is out of place. If not, let us not further discuss the ethics. I would love to debate about it at length over beers, but this isn't the place.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:58   #15
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pirate Re: Working in the Carib

Okay.. lets get away from all the Legal Beagle **** above and get to reality.. don't go anywhere with a fixed plan in your head..
When you arrive take a couple or 3 weeks to mooch around.. hang out in the right bars and learn who's who and does what.. buy a few beers for folks..
Learn who's rice bowl is over flowing and who's scratching the bottom... steal rice from a nearly empty bowl is gonna get you a bad time one dark night..
Life is a case of good and bad Karma.. yeah.. I know it sounds hippy but.. one hand washes the other as we say in Portugal..
There's no fixed formula.. just read the scene and take it from there.. Best Wishes and don't take the piss..
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