The New Networking In The Caribbean

Easier to Network?

Is it easier or harder to network here in Jamaica than in other places? I am not sure if I know the answer to that question, but realized after a few months of living on the island that networking is different here compared to the process I followed when I lived in North America.

For starters, nobody ever asked me, ” was I related to such and such, and did I attend prep school with …….? or am I the daughter- in-law of ……..?” These questions affected me in a very strange way, as I asked “why does it matter who I am related to?”

While I now recognize that this is simply how trust is established among many on the island as they attempt to place you, it threw me for a tail loop my first year here. It is very interesting three years later, when I am introduced as Merle’s daughter-in-law, or Francis’s wife I just smile. As they say in Jamaica ” so it ahh go” meaning that it’s how things are done, so do not try to fight the system.

My new conclusion is that if I am going to live here, I need to understand the “why” of how things work and find my place in this society.

My Rolodex filled with names and telephone numbers for contacts up and down the east coast, those living  out on the west coast, as well as those living in the the southern states, was of no assistance to me while trying to network on the island Jamaica.

I had to start my contact list over from zero. Oh lucky me!.
My husband realized this as well and he went a step further and started writing about the  networking differences, which led to him giving a few presentations and speeches on the topic last year. At first, he wanted to have someone write a book about the topic, but when he couldn’t figure out how to direct the project, he connected with a designer Tavia Tomlinson and together they came up with an e-book, which is now finally available as a download. This  e-book, includes a combination of text, audio and video.

A copy can be claimed by contacting me or leaving your name at the following

I am sharing this with readers since all of you should find this free e-book helpful when considering moving to this island in the sun. We get weekly emails from individuals who are thinking about moving to Jamaica,  with many admitting that they are unsure of where to begin. My initial advice is always for them to start making trips to the island and  begin building networks.

Downtown Kingston:What Expats rarely see

I saw the following video on facebook last week and wanted to share with you the readers. This is certainly not a side of Jamaica promoted by the Tourist board, as they usually show the beautiful beaches of Negril, Montego-bay, Portland or the panoramic views of the Blue Mountains. I cannot say I blame them, as there are so many beautiful parts of the island to showcase for tourist.

I also need to admit that I have never been to the areas shown in the video, but I here enough  daily about Uptown and Downtown people to know different lifestyles exist, and if one lives on the Island long enough, you will come across many differences as well.

People considering a move to the Island however, need to look at the Island as a whole. So research, research, is my ongoing advice.

Note: Rarely seen by tourist

This is the side of Jamaica which is often viewed by Tourist:

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Do I need a work permit? Jamaica

About twice a month I get emails about the above question, and while I have blogged about this particular topic one can never have too much information as it pertains to Jamaica and work permits.

I noticed a writer giving information on work permits in the local paper and felt the information may come in handy for people moving to Jamaica, so here is the article and link.

LAWS OF EVE – Do I need a work permit?
Published: Monday | May 4, 2009

Gleaner Newspaper (Flair Magazine)

By: Sherry-Ann McGregor

Most foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens must obtain valid work permits from the Minister of Labour and Social Security if they are to work in Jamaica in accordance with the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act.

The act defines a Commonwealth citizen as a person who has that status pursuant to section 9 of the Jamaican Constitution and is not a citizen of Jamaica or a member state of the Caribbean Community.

Foreign national: Someone who is not a citizen of Jamaica, the Commonwealth or a member state of the Caribbean Community.

The failure of the Commonwealth citizen or foreign national (hereinafter called ‘foreign worker’) or his employer to obtain a valid work permit constitutes a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment at hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding $200, or both. The employer can only be prosecuted with the sanction of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Once a work permit has been granted, the foreign worker must engage in work in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit. The minister has the discretion to vary or revoke it at any time. The foreign worker may be required to produce his work permit to a constable or an authorised person (for example an immigration officer) on demand or within three days.

Failure to comply without reasonable explanation makes that person liable to conviction and the individual may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with or without hard labour, not exceeding three months, or a fine of $50.

Continue reading by clicking here:

A Jamaican Dreams of Coming Home> Shared Stories

When I initially started my informational blog, the purpose was to share knowledge necessary for expats thinking of moving to Jamaica. Over the last six months however, I have realized that many of my readers are Jamaicans who have migrated to Canada, the U.S. and even England, and are looking for answers or for information as they contemplate a move home.

Many in this group have lived away from the island for over 15 or 20 years, and  are questions such as, “how do I even begin to network for a move back? ” or “how do I get a TRN number?” The questions asked and ideas shared are usually different than those from the expat population, but the questions are relevant to both Jamaicans and expatriates regardless.

My husband who is Jamaican started a blog titled “Moving Back to Jamaica” when we started our own move to the island back in late 2005. See

He wanted to share his experiences as a Jamaican moving home after 20 years and continues to write three years later. We encountered several struggles as we moved here and made many big mistakes. At the time I wished for a rule- book that might have made our transition easier, but no such thing existed back then. It’s with this motivation that we both continue sharing with others about moving to Jamaica.

The following piece is one persons’ struggle with wanting to move back to Jamaica; she sent her letter and said it was okay to share with others: She has now been here for 9 months and is settling pretty well, despite a few struggles.

I have spent the last 17 years of my life working towards the American dream.  By society’s standards, both here and there, many would say that my husband and I have achieved it.  The high profile careers with six figures coming in, the large single-family house, the cars, all tied in a bow for the family of 5 (3 children).

Having now slumbered my way into dreamland, I find that I have awoken to the American nightmare many of us who took the same path that I did have come to know.  I left Jamaica shortly after graduating high school.  Not “in search” of anything, but because my father is American and I was moving on to higher educational opportunities which at the time (1991) were more abundant off island.  I didn’t know enough about “trying to make it” in Jamaica to dream of anything that would better facilitate that.

It was quite easy being lulled into the sweet sleep of corporate American culture and the daily frantic gyrations of American life.  But what started out as climbing the corporate ladder soon became no time with the kids and even less with my husband.  There may be those who say that American life does not have to be like that, but with expensive childcare, no helpers or limited access to anything of that nature, long commutes to and from work as well as family and friends… soon, routine takes over and quality of life goes down the drain… that is of course, if you ever had any.

Although I have the conveniences of a 24-hour Wal-Mart, the ever current Target.  The massive malls with endless shopping opportunities and the wide highways with no potholes – a grand quality of life is still wishful thinking.

On my visit to Jamaica in 2007, as I eagerly debated living in Jamaica vs. living in US with some friends, one of them commented that Jamaica was “on the cusp of greatness”.  I’ll never forget those words, because I strongly agreed with them then and still do now.  The individual who made the comment was later shot by a thief who was attempting to rob his sister.  Thankfully, he was not killed, however it brings me to my next point, which is the paralyzing effect that crime is having on the Jamaican dream.

In effect, crime is the demon that has invaded the sweet sleep that was once Jamaica.  And those who are feeling the poverty that hard life on this island inflicts find other outlets to meet their thirsty lips, hands, pockets… dream deprived sleep.

Despite the madness lurking on all corners, hillsides and gullies, I still believe that my Jamaican dream is yet to be realized.  Maybe it’s just the naivety of having not lived here for 17 years.  Many Jamaicans who I have shared with that I am considering a move home have asked… “are you crazy?”, “why now?”; the most positive reviews I have received seem to come from those who either have wealth enough to enjoy the higher points of life in Jamaica, or those who have placed their security in a higher power other than King Alarm.

And what is my Jamaican dream… well all the things that you spoke of in your article – better quality of life for my family, a challenging career, my own business, house in town and one on the coast… and much more.  But to put it even more simply… give me a cool breeze rolling off a waterfall, a lush garden, sunrise on a beach and a nice water jelly from the man on the corner.  I’ll take that over a 24 hour Wal-Mart any day! I am a Jamaican at heart and that’s where most great dreams begin.  So let’s start dreaming!

Job losses soar in Sunny Jamaica:

People considering a move to Jamaica with the hopes of gaining employment, need to be aware of the current economic temperature. If you are an individual being hired by a Multinational company  such as (KPMG, Red Stripe, or Digicel) and your position appears secure, then you should be fine providing your contract is honored for the duration.

You may also be a self employed person or returning resident wanting to relocate to Jamaica to take advantage of a business opportunity, or simply have a change in lifestyle.

Being aware of the day to occurrences on the island and doing extensive research is  always highly encouraged.

The following story was on the front page of today’s newspaper.

Job losses soar – Up to 30,000 sent home since start of the economic crisis


Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

As the industrial relations landscape continues to take a battering from the stormy economic climate, it is estimated that up to 30,000 Jamaicans have lost their jobs since the global crisis unleashed its effects over a year ago.

Prominent players in the labour arena are agreeing that the number of casualties from job losses continues to soar with each passing day.

President of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, Wayne Chen, told The Gleaner that a conservative estimate of the number of persons who have been sent home had climbed to between 25,000 and 30,000 Jamaicans since the onset of the crisis.

Chen said the number at April 2009 – the start of the financial year – stood at in excess of 20,000.

The JEF boss suggested that the figure could be far in excess of this amount because of the size of the informal economy, which was difficult to measure.

The formal economy

“It’s (the figure) fluid because of the size of the informal economy … so the figure we have is confined to the formal economy,” Chen said.

Veteran trade unionist Clive Dobson agreed.

He said that while the precise figures are difficult to determine, it was clear that more than 25,000 Jamaicans have been pushed out of work.

Labour and Social Security Minister Pearnel Charles, acknowledging that the actual redundancy figure should be around 20,000, said the numbers obtained by his ministry were calculated from data taken from people who have registered under the ministry’s redundancy requirements.

The labour minister said the data were compiled from larger firms which have been forced to make positions redundant because of the financial crisis.

He said small businesses were less likely to register with the ministry.

The continued fallout in the bauxite sector and the scaling down of businesses in the tourist resorts, along with smaller companies throughout the island, have had a ripple effect on employment.

There is yet to be any fallout from the island’s largest employer, the Government, but the prospects for the next financial year look grim.

Public-sector workers are protected by the latest memorandum of understanding between the Government and the trade-union movement.

However, the Government is under pressure to reduce the $125-billion wage bill it is required to fork out.

The wage bill, which has increased from $84 billion since the JLP administration came to office two years ago, represents 10.8 per cent of GDP.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said it is desirable that the figure be reduced and the International Monetary Fund has reportedly recommended that the figure should stand no higher than 9.5 per cent of GDP.

Golding has indicated that public-sector workers would be protected until the end of the 2009-2010 financial year.

Jamaicans Cry Out: We Want Work

The following article was published  on (Jan 11th, 2009) and I wanted to share it with you the readers. The entire world is currently experiencing an economic slow-down, and even Jamaica’s  employment situation looks bleak for many locals.

Last week, there was an article in the paper that showed pictures of over 600 people lined up in front of a bakery, looking for employment.

The Captain’s Bakery in Kingston’s owner said he placed an advertisement in the newspaper to fill ten vacant positions for his shop. Little did he expect over 600 women  to line up in the hot sun all day to apply for the jobs.

Several large companies surprised some employees by distributing “no return” letters to staff on December 31st. What a way to begin the New Year, for many?

People thinking of moving to Jamaica who plan to seek employment, need to be very aware of this job shortage situation, as several companies in the last week are forecasting massive redundancies. I get emails almost weekly, asking about how to seek employment here in Jamaica, and I try to be a honest as possibly.

Companies thinking of moving here and creating jobs, can do well in such an environment if they can create jobs to assist with this crisis. My advice is that all should do intense research before any upcoming move.


Published: Sunday | January 11, 2009

Arthur Hall and Avia Collinder, Sunday Gleaner Reporters

FROM THE tough inner-city communities in the Corporate Area to that quiet farming district in Westmoreland, the cry for jobs has been echoing across the island.

To underscore the problem, last week, 600 persons turned up to apply for 10 vacancies at The Captain’s Bakery and Grill in St Andrew.

“You have a job can give me?” one frustrated woman asked The Sunday Gleaner team, while others offered to do any sort of job that was available.

‘jobs, jobs and more jobs’

But this should come as no surprise to the Bruce Golding administration, which booted the People’s National Party out of power in 2007 with a promise to create “jobs, jobs and more jobs”.

Now, with thousands more Jamaicans losing their jobs in the past 12 months and indications that the worsening global economic crisis could cause many others to be sent home, the Ministry of Labour is pulling out all the stops to find new job opportunities.

Already, Labour Minister Pearnel Charles has announced that his ministry will be switching its focus from industrial disputes to human-resource development and looking Redundancies reported to the labour ministry

Continue reading “Jamaicans Cry Out: We Want Work”

Minimum Wage Update: In Jamaica

I am often asked about employee salaries, and what the Minimum Wage is in Jamaica. Read the attached article for a  small clue.

Please note that one US dollar is currently worth $89.00 dollars in Jamaican currency ( May 13th, 2009), and exactly two years ago, the same US dollar was worth $70.00 Jamaican dollars.

Since Jamaica is an island into which most things are imported, most people try to purchase as many locally grown foods items as possible. If you, the expat, attempt to only purchase brands that you are familiar with  from your home country, you may develop sticker shock at the grocery check out lines. In other words the cost of living in Jamaica is high, but manageable.

Minimum wage up $370 weekly

Friday, May 01, 2009


MINIMUM wage earners have been granted a 10 per cent increase, effective May 11, Labour and Social Security Minister Pearnel Charles announced yesterday.

Domestic minimum wage earners will have their wages increased by $370 per week or $74 per day, moving the existing figure of $3,700 per week to $4,070.

The minister also announced a 10 per cent increase for industrial security guards, effective June 1.

The wages for guards will move from $5,500 to $6,050 weekly, an increase of $500.50 for a 40-hour workweek.

Laundry allowance for the guards has moved from $25 per hour to $27.50 per hour, and firearm allowance will be increased from $27.50 per hour to $30.25 per hour.

Dog handlers premium allowance will also be increased from $18.50 per hour to $20.35 per hour.

The announcement by Minister Charles came as a surprise to some MPs as he had previously told a parliamentary committee studying the flexi-week proposal that no decision had been taken on the matter up to March.

Charles told the House that the report of the national minimum wage advisory committee was submitted to Cabinet in December 2008.

“However, in light of the financial crises, further consultation were held with a number of stakeholders. As a result of these consultations Government had to ensure reasonable balance between employers, workers, and the state of the macroeconomy in order to ensure that the burden of the crises is equitably distributed,” Charles said.

Caribbean! Vacancies In Jamaica

Each month this list is sent to me, so I am simply sharing this lead.

Apply directly for jobs in the Caribbean via!

Go to:

Can you or someone you know fill any of these current job vacancies?

Deadline               Job Title
—————-       ———————————————–
Wed, 24-Sep-2008 Marketing and Events Officer

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Business Development Manager

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 IT Support & Database Manager

Fri, 12-Sep-2008 Lecturer / Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics

Fri, 12-Sep-2008 Computer Information Systems Auditor

Fri, 26-Sep-2008 Kitchen & Stone Department Manager

Fri, 12-Sep-2008 Head of Marketing

Tue, 16-Sep-2008 Human Resources Administrative Assistant

Thu, 18-Sep-2008 Enumerator/Research Assistants  Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Sales and Marketing Manager

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Key Account Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Literacy Specialist
Mon, 22-Sep-2008 Marketing Communications Officer

Wed, 24-Sep-2008 Senior Analyst Programmer (Oracle)

Wed, 24-Sep-2008 Research Analyst

Fri, 10-Oct-2008 Consultants/Lecturers

Wed, 24-Sep-2008 Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Wed, 24-Sep-2008 Senior Analyst Programmer (Oracle)

Fri, 26-Sep-2008 Senior Financial Administrator

Tue, 30-Sep-2008 Lecturer in Communication Studies

Tue, 30-Sep-2008 Lecturer / Assistant Lecturer in Social Work

Wed, 01-Oct-2008 Scientific Assistant

Fri, 03-Oct-2008 Veterinary Officer II

Fri, 12-Sep-2008 Manager  Contracts and Procurement

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Network Engineer

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Nortel Engineer

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Web Application Developer / Analyst

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Business Analyst

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Avaya Engineer

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Principal IT Consultant

Fri, 10-Oct-2008 Junior Application Developers

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior IT Consultant

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 V.P. & Client Development Manager  Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Trust Officer  Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Office Equipment Technician

Mon, 22-Sep-2008 Facilities Assistants

Mon, 22-Sep-2008 Facilities Technician

Mon, 22-Sep-2008 Distribution Centre Supervisor

Fri, 26-Sep-2008 Systems Programmer  Fri, 26-Sep-2008 Chemist

Fri, 26-Sep-2008 Laboratory Technician

Tue, 30-Sep-2008 Director – International Office

Fri, 10-Oct-2008 Senior Application Developers

Fri, 19-Sep-2008 Senior Microsoft Dynamics GP Consultant

Fri, 10-Oct-2008 Account Executive (Sales)
Full job details available at:
Be sure to forward this message to family and friends who are interested in finding dream jobs in the Caribbean.
your job search solution

CaribbeanJobNet > Vacancies

Attached is the August list of vacancies which was recently sent to me.

Apply directly for jobs in the Caribbean via! Tell a friend!

Go to:

Can you or someone you know fill any of these current job vacancies?

Deadline               Job Title
—————-       ———————————————–
Fri, 22-Aug-2008       Human Resource Officer
Fri, 05-Sep-2008       Senior Secretary
Wed, 10-Sep-2008       Lecturer/Assistant Lecturer in Computer Science
Fri, 12-Sep-2008       Lecturer / Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics
Fri, 12-Sep-2008       Computer Information Systems Auditor
Tue, 30-Sep-2008       Lecturer in Communication Studies
Tue, 30-Sep-2008       Director – International Office
Tue, 30-Sep-2008       Lecturer / Assistant Lecturer in Social Work
Fri, 29-Aug-2008       Senior Application Developers
Fri, 29-Aug-2008       Junior Application Developers
Fri, 29-Aug-2008       Account Executive (Sales)
Fri, 29-Aug-2008       Consultants/Lecturers
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Business Development Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Technical Sales Rep
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Technical Sales Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       IT Support & Database Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Network Engineer
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Nortel Engineer
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Web Application Developer / Analyst
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Computer Technician
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Business Analyst
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Microsoft Consultant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Microsoft Consultant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Avaya Engineer
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Principal IT Consultant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Microsoft Dynamics GP Consultant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior IT Consultant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Financial Assistant
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Portfolio Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Claims Officer
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Claims Account Executive
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       V.P. & Client Development Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Investment Compliance Specialist
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Senior Trust Officer
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Office Equipment Technician
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Electrical Project Manager
Fri, 19-Sep-2008       Assistant Grocery Store & Dept Managers

Full job details available at:
Be sure to forward this message to family and friends who are interested in finding dream jobs in the Caribbean.
your job search solution

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.