Questions; About Future Moves To Jamaica
For the last year and a half, I have been a volunteer mentor with various on line expat exchange services, where I answer questions for expats seeking information about Jamaica. Not sure when the idea first popped into my head to do this, but I realized early on that I get tremendous enjoyment when assisting in this capacity. I often meet individuals who tell me, that they moved to Jamaica for employment without ever visiting the country, and are now amazed at how challenging life can be in the sun.
I find the concept of moving to a country or place that I had never visited very different, but it happens. Individuals simply fall in love with whatever perceptions they have of Jamaica and the Caribbean, and often times do not have a clue about what day- to- day living is like. They may have heard Bob Marley’s music or saw high performing Jamaican athletes competing, and thought, “oh boy!” I can move to Jamaica for a better life in paradise.
While living in Jamaica is clearly doable and the land is beautiful, I advise doing extensive research before selling everything and moving here, because it is a developing country.
Expats do arrive on the island and live a pretty interesting life, but settling in can often times be a challenge for some families. The following two questions were recently posted at an expat site:
Hi! I am a doctor who is being hired by the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. I need help regarding the way of life in Jamaica before I decide to stay there. What is the standard of living there? Safe housing and how much for a car? Please help….I don’t have any idea regarding living in Jamaica. Thanks.
Now, what should my response be to this person? The first thing I would tell him is to make his first pre-arrival trip to Jamaica, to see where he will be working. Sort of like an informational interview with the management to have a look around at the conditions he will be working with, to see whether things such as medial equipment is compatible to where he is coming from, etc. He should also check with his home embassy to see if expats from his home country live on the island and arrange to meet as many of them as possible so he can start asking questions. He should then try to meet a few Realtors to take him around and view housing, schools, etc. In other words, a move of this magnitude should not be taken lightly.
What I would also recommend is that he download the free e-book The 10 1/2 Mistakes People Make When Moving to Jamaica, written by myself and husband Francis Wade. he should then purchase our e-book on My Move To Jamaica; both excellent resources.
Another question posted:
I am a chef living in the U.S. and was thinking of relocating to Negril for maybe a year or so just to get some new experience and have a change of scenery for a little while. I was wondering if some of the resorts would provide housing for employees or at least help with housing. How much would it be for a single male adult to stay and live decently well? What might be a starting salary at a major resort for a sous chef?
I am not sure if this individual is aware, of the current unemployment rate in Jamaica being close to 40 percent . While jobs in the hotel industry may be available, they are hard to come by. Not only will this person be competing with Jamaicans for a job, he would need to have the job before he arrives to live or secure a job within the first three months of being here, and hopefully his employers would assist in getting his work permit. A work permit for non-Jamaicans now cost $108, 000. Jamaican dollars and usually expires in two to three years. The US equivalent is $1500. which is a recent increase from, about $500.00 US dollars.
This amount does not include the application fees and process, so individuals will need to contact the Jamaican Immigration Department and Ministry of Labor when considering staying on the island for more than a vacation. Individuals married to Jamaican citizens usually get an exemption for work permits, but the process is not automatic and could take as many as six to nine months. Again folks please do you research well.
“No problem mon” is great to here while one is on a holiday, but not when you are trying to figure out how you will survive on half the salary you made in your home country.