Jamaica Magazine

Starting A Business In Jamaica by American Retiree in Jamaica

If you have ever thought seriously about moving to Jamaica, there are three major ways to do it. The first, which is the way I did it, is to retire here with enough income to provide the resources which will allow you to sit back and enjoy the rest of your life. But, if you haven’t reached that age yet and the call to Jamaica is really strong, you can find a job here. Initially, you have to find a position in your field of work. The first offer for that position must go to a qualified Jamaican. If none is found, it is just a matter of bureaucracy. Jamaica has
plenty of that. This process, which I wrote about several months ago, is long and tedious.

The third way to migrate to Jamaica is to open your own business or purchase an existing one. The business opportunities are endless. The following is an outline extracted from Jampro’s (Jamaica Promotions Company) website to make your venture possible.

What Are The Procedures For Starting A Business In Jamaica. Investors who want to commence operations in Jamaica must:

  • Prepare a detailed proposal, which assesses the feasibility of the project
  • Obtain a business visa IF you are neither a Jamaican or a citizen of a British Commonwealth nation
  • Obtain a work permit if you are not a Jamaican national
  • Incorporate a local company or register a business name with the Office of the Registrar of Companies
  • Secure land or commercial space
  • Submit application for utilities: Water from the National Water Commission(NWC),
  • Electricity from the Jamaica Public Service Co Ltd (JPSCo) and Cable & Wireless Ltd,
  • Digicel and Oceana Digital for telecommunications.
  • Obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) from the Inland Revenue Dept., which must be affixed to all written communication from business enterprises to all government revenue department
  • Obtain National Insurance (NIS) reference number from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security
  • Obtain National Housing Trust (NHT) registration
  • Obtain General Consumption Tax (GCT) registration
  • Register with JAMPRO, in order to export
  • Obtain a Tax Compliance Certificate
  • Conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment study for certain specific industries
  • Obtain a license for importation of motor vehicles from the trade board
  • Apply for government incentives through JAMPRO
  • Have their operations inspected and licensed by the relevant government departments

This make look a little ominous until you dissect each item one at a time. The process isn’t as difficult as it looks. The key point is the first one, making a detailed proposal with each and every detail clearly outlined. The easiest and cheapest procedure from the above outline is obtaining your TRN. It is free and can be
obtained in minutes from any Inland Revenue Department. Most of the other requirements involve fees of varying amounts. Many of them are based on the size and needs of your venture.

The following website is for JAMPRO, www.investjamaica.com. There are several links on this site. For the most comprehensive link, click on “Investor’s Guide.” This is a very useful 42 page guide detailing items such as, Establishing a Business in Jamaica, incentives, infrastructure, Labour Market, and taxation. Section 7 will tell you all about moving to Jamaica with entries such as, lifestyle, entry requirements, and residential permits.

In closing, everything you need to know about starting a business in Jamaica can be found through JAMPRO’s website. No matter the size or type of your venture, there is room for you in Jamaica. Good luck!

About the author

John Casey