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.

Work Permit: Update From Jamaica

I recently read the attached article in the newspaper about Work Permits, and since I get several emails about this topic, I concluded I would share this with you the readers.

Please note that most people arriving for employment to the Island generally need to secure a job and have the future employer apply for the work permit before arriving to the country. This new rule however should now give  persons some additional  time.

Please do your research wisely, as the unemployment rate in Jamaica is extremely high and most jobs generally go to locals first. Unless  you have a skill that is needed for a particular job, the going could be tedious… read more:

The Jamaican Gleaner

January 30th, 2011

The Jamaican Government has removed the need for a work permit for overseas technicians required to carry out urgent work on the island not exceeding 30 days.

“If your machine is down and you need a man from anywhere in the world, you won’t have to wait six weeks anymore to apply and to get medical and police records. In fact, you are authorized to get him by computer – technology can bring him here instantly,” said Labour Minister Pearnel Charles.

“If you need the person for more than 30 days, you are going to have to apply for a work permit. Now this time, you are permitted to apply for that permit while the person is in Jamaica; under normal circumstances you would have to apply while he was at home,” he told the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association.

He urged employers not to exploit the system.

Persons seeking employment here are required to obtain a work permit by making an application to the labour and social security ministry.


Multinational Companies & The Hiring Of Expats In Jamaica

I saw an interesting article in local Gleaner newspaper about a multinational company who’s expat director quit his position, after being in a new position for less than three months.  According to the article, “he was well liked and was doing a good job here, but I don’t think his family really settled here and there was an opportunity which came up for him in South Africa”

Read the entire article by Susan Gordon a business reporter at the Gleaner newspaper:

There is currently a rule in Jamaica that says, any job being offered to an Expat will eventually have a local replacement,  and once the individual has been trained by the expat and is ready to take on the responsibility, the expat will be replaced. l fully endorse such a plan, but I also see the need for the expat to be able to understand the cultural challenges that may come into play as he the expat moves to a new culture.

His or her being here on the island could create new skills for others in an environment where many locals who get trained in specific fields on Jamaican soil, choose to migrate. I think that training for export is leading to a brain drain in several areas, so if Expats can  come in and provide training then great. ex.( Cubans arriving to JA to take  up nursing  or Medical positions)

Large Multinational companies recognize  that as things currently are in Jamaica Re: skills, they need to hire  individuals with certain skill sets to fill vacant positions across the island. My question then lies with what processes do these companies have in place to support an Executive and his family as he considers moving to Jamaica for a job opportunity from as far away as India or Malaysia?

The hiring of an expat as every Human Resource department is aware of, is no simple matter. The process can be timely and extremely expensive, as expat packages involve work permits, flights for interviews, housing for the family, schools for children etc. etc. Where are families supposed to get such information and assistance with settling if they do decide to relocate.

If this relocation function is mismanaged at any stage, a company may risk what I call a “relocation gone buss” which happens very often for no particular reason. I have been in Jamaica for three years and I know of at least half a dozen cases of people I know whose relocation’s went sour in less than a year. The entire process of hiring expats needs a structured plan or process to yield  win win situation for all involved.

The  above article, is a clear example of a relocation gone sour. Could this particular director and his family have benefited from some early intervention steps such as a pre- arrival trip? and if such a trip is impossible, did this family have any true knowledge of what day to day life would look like here in Jamaica?  I can only guess.

What I do know, is companies lose a great deal of money and productivity each time a relocation goes sour. I continue to get daily emails from individuals thinking of relocating to this beautiful island in the sun, and the reality is Jamaica’s image is large, so the work must begin to support people who are willing to move to the Island.

I often say to friends that Jamaica has a great potential, as once you leave Kingston the city it can be an amazingly beautiful country.

Kingston: Downtown Part II> Done 2007 by Ria Bacon

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.

Questions Being Asked by a Future Expat Manager

See Answers under each question: as I am answering directly from an email sent to me.

I need to decide over the next 5 days to take a job offer (to move to Kingston Jamaica as an expat with a foreign company,  in a role as company manager) or to not move and take up another European offer. So unfortunately I cannot wait for the 6 day or so delivery of the paid for information( books)  and need it all in one quick delivery so it can help me make up my mind.

Please visit: Why Workers Won’t Work>

It’s from a company called  FrameworkConsulting.

This paper summarizes the book Why Workers Won’t Work: The worker in a developing economy. A case study of Jamaica by Kenneth L. Carter. It’s a seminal work and acts as a powerful guide to both new and experienced managers. This paper may be useful in understanding the Jamaican employee.
The second download on the same page is ” The Trinidadian Executive.” It describes managers who came to work here in Jamaica thinking that they’d have “no problem” as they, too, were from the Caribbean.  The paper describes the shock they experienced and what can be learned from the experience.

I have 3 burning questions though & if you can help me with a response I would be very grateful;

The world of WORK!!!!!!

Ouestion:1. I hear that renting a house and electricity bills are unusually high, so I want to make sure the company allowance limit (for rent and utilities) is realistic. So  for a comfortable 2 bedroom house / flat for my wife & myself in a secure community e.g. for expats (maybe with access to sports facilities / pool etc ?) what\’s the current typical monthly rental range and utilities bill (we have no children only my wife & myself)?

Answer: I will quote in US. as 98% rental fees are pegged to US due to Jamaica’s  economy. You will spend  maybe $2000 a month for something very nice, as a  town house or Apartment. If it’s furnished, then prepare to spend abit more. Lately however bargains can be had, as a great deal of people have rental properties simply sitting unoccupied due to the worldwide economic slump. Realtors  will however try to close a deal as more commissioned is gained if they put you in a more expensive places.

So if your company does not have a Realtor for you to work with let me know I can recommend one, or our book mentions a few reputable companies.
Make certain you do not move into any housing that is without grills on ALL doors and windows. Are you sure that you will be based in Kingston, as it’s the most expensive area. Rents  prices are less outside on Kingston corporate area, but Kingston is also where 95% of Expats live. Are you not allowed to come on a pre-arrival trip to have a look see? Really push for this if it’s an option. There is an International community here, representing several countries, as my neighbors are from Columbia and I know women from Wales, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela, Ireland & Chile. So your wife will certainly find company if she so desires. I will share more in this area if you decide to move here.

Rarely are gyms in living communities here, only two or three places for rent have as much, and they may cost US$2500 to $3000. a Month. A few good gyms in the Kingston areas are mentioned in our book. I have one pal who works at the EU and they live in a great area called Russell Heights, the complex is called Durie Estates and it has a good, small, reliable gym on the premises.

Even ask if the company has temporary Corporate housing, as you can come then  have a look see, and ship your things say 6 months later. Rushing this sort of a move is not encouraged. I would  also attempt to bargain for a company car for 6 months or driver and corporate housing, bargain hard, as it will make your  choices easier.

Electricity bills here are un-usually high, and it has been escalating the last 4-6 months. Many of the local Jamaicans are complaining like mad. Our last two months bills averaged US $200 ( Oct. Nov. 2008) Then December was US $150. and we have zero children nor do we run Air Conditioning. We work from home, so who knows? Telephone is about $50 to $60 US with internet another US$55.00  month.

Continue reading “Questions Being Asked by a Future Expat Manager”

Working In Jamaica> Recently Listed Vacancies

The following advertisements are sent to me once a month and I decided to share them with readers. Please recognize that the unemployment rate is extremely high in Jamaica, so most jobs will go to Jamaicans first. Also do extensive research about work permits and requirements needed to work and live in Jamaica.

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
—————-       ———————————————–
Fri, 15-Aug-2008    Consultants/Lecturers
Wed, 30-Jul-2008    Landscape Maintenance Supervisor
Mon, 04-Aug-2008    Database Adminsitrator
Fri, 15-Aug-2008    Kitchen & Stone Department Manager

Fri, 01-Aug-2008    Library Assistant/Administrator
Tue, 12-Aug-2008    Category Specialist
Mon, 04-Aug-2008    Network Administrator
Mon, 04-Aug-2008    Network Support Technician
Thu, 07-Aug-2008    Media Research Assistant

Tue, 12-Aug-2008    Co-ordinator – Retail Network Planning & Facilities
Wed, 30-Jul-2008    Manager – Corporate Communications
Fri, 15-Aug-2008    Junior Application Developers
Wed, 30-Jul-2008    Project & Maintenance Technician I

Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Library Assistant
Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Part Time Library Assistant
Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Processing Manager
Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Paediatric Psychiatrist

Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Pharmacist
Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Project Engineer for Civil/Marine Works
Fri, 08-Aug-2008    Executive Manager – Projects
Fri, 08-Aug-2008    Communications Specialist
Fri, 08-Aug-2008    Prevention/Screening Programme Officer

Thu, 31-Jul-2008    Systems Analyst
Mon, 11-Aug-2008    Pharmacist
Fri, 15-Aug-2008    Senior Application Developers
Fri, 15-Aug-2008    Account Executive (Sales)
Wed, 30-Jul-2008    LEGAL OFFICER

Full job details available at:

Work Permits In Jamaica

Work Permits Revisited
By John Casey @
June 1, 2008

A frequently asked question by people thinking of moving to Jamaica is “How can I get a job and work in Jamaica?” For most people this is extremely hard, if not impossible. Unemployment is double digit with no signs of easing. All work is offered to Jamaicans first. Some fields in highly skilled professions are open to the world primarily because there aren’t enough Jamaicans with expertise in those areas.

It has been well over two years since I wrote about the requirements for obtaining a work permit. Nothing during this time period has changed regarding the form and the documentation needed to apply for the permit. However, the fees have increased considerably. The non-refundable application fee has been raised from JA1,000 to JA14,400, while the permit itself has more than doubled from JA40,000 to JA108,000. This is equivalent, in US dollars, to $202.82 for the application fee and $1521.13 for the permit, for a total of $17,023.95 per year.

These fees have been in effect since this past April 28th. This is a given. However, the government is planning on making three year restrictions for foreigners working in Jamaica. One big issue to be addressed is what fields and levels of work are to be covered by the three year restriction. The theory is for an employer to hire a Jamaican apprentice who would be trained during this period for the job being filled by the foreigner. Surely this will cover the lower end of the work spectrum as it wouldn’t be feasible to train anyone for a position requiring a college degree(s) without the trainee actually obtaining the degree(s).

The following is part of the two legal sized instruction sheets that accompany an application for a work permit or work permit exemption.

1. Eligibility for a work permit or work permit exemption in Jamaica

An application for a work permit or work permit exemption should be made by all non-Jamaican nationals who are:

without diplomatic status
desirous of engaging in any form of gainful employment while in Jamaica

Persons married to:

Jamaican nationals, or
CARICOM nationals who are covered under the Caribbean Community Act (1997)

are not required to apply for work permits while working in Jamaica.

Jamaican law requires all non-Jamaican nationals who do not enjoy diplomatic status to have a work permit as long as they are engaged in gainful employment in the island whether or not the form of gainful employment is voluntary, commercial, business, professional, charitable or entertainment and sport related nature. A non-Jamaican national who engages in any form of gainful employment without a work permit or while an application for a permit is pending, may be prosecuted.

This is a very strong statement and equally vague. The form is not only for a work permit but also for an exemption. The application, itself, has 51 questions. The applicant completes questions 1-29 while the prospective employer completes questions 30-51.

Employers should note carefully and provide the information required in questions 43-50 concerning the steps taken to recruit a Jamaican national for the job to be undertaken by the applicant.

In addition to the completed application, there are many documents that must also be submitted with the application.

4. Documents to be submitted along with applications

(i) A cover letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Security,

1F North Street, Kingston

a) The cover letter should be written by the local employer and should set out clearly the

reasons for making the application.

b) The cover letter should also state the efforts made to recruit a Jamaican national to

undertake the work contemplated and the expected duration of the work to be

undertaken by the applicant.

(ii) Proof of qualification

a) Certified copies of proof of academic or professional qualifications or letters of


b) A letter of recommendation or written reference from the applicant’s previous employer,

or evidence of the applicant’s business/commercial/professional activity abroad.

c) In cases where any of the above named documents are prepared in a language other than

English, a certified English translation of the relevant document should be supplied.

d) A Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public with a valid Commission should certify the

documents. Authorises members of staff of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security

may certify copies of the documents upon presentation of the original documents.

(iii) A resume outlining the applicant’s professional or business experience.

(iv) A police record

a) For new applications:

The record should be issued by the appropriate Security Authority in the country of

the applicant’s domicile.

NB. Please note that the police record submitted should bear a date of investigation not

greater than one year prior to the date of submission to this ministry.

(vii) Certified copies of pages from applicant’s passport showing, (a) proof of identity,

(b) passport number, (c) date of issue and expiry, (d) landing status in Jamaica and

(e) relevant visas (where applicable.)

(viii) Two photographs in the case of a work permit and one (1) in the case of a work permit


(ix) The attached Tax Payer Registration Number (TRN) form, completed and signed by the


As you can see, this is not an easy or quick process. What I have taken from the instruction sheets is less than half of the very detailed instructions. Once this is submitted, there is no guarantee it will be approved. The stronger your documents are, the better your chances for approval. The good news in all this is some employers will pay part or all of these fees. The instruction sheets list an email address of where you can get further information.

I hope this has helped those of you who are interested in living and working in Jamaica. Good luck!

Working In Jamaica

This recently came to me via e-mail. So I decided to post it.

Go to:

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, 27-Jun-2008 Administrative Assistant

Fri, 13-Jun-2008 Accountant

Sun, 15-Jun-2008 Brand Managers

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 IT Manager

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Financial Assistant

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Assistant Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Fri, 04-Jul-2008 Senior Application Developers

Fri, 04-Jul-2008 Junior Application Developers

Fri, 13-Jun-2008 Senior Health Information Officer

Fri, 13-Jun-2008 Information Technology Administrator

Fri, 13-Jun-2008 Senior Technologist Virology & Molecular Virology

Sat, 14-Jun-2008 Librarian

Sun, 15-Jun-2008 Group Product Manager

Sun, 15-Jun-2008 Trade Marketing Executives

Wed, 18-Jun-2008 Air Safety Manager

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 Sales Executive

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 Customer Service Representatives

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 Accounting Staff

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 IT Specialist

Fri, 20-Jun-2008 IT Specialist (Systems Integration)

Sat, 21-Jun-2008 Accounting Professional

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Inhouse Legal Counsel

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Information & Communication Technology Specialist

Fri, 27-Jun-2008 Procurement Assistant

Fri, 04-Jul-2008 Account Executive (Sales)

Fri, 04-Jul-2008 Consultants/Lecturers

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.

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