Jamaica Magazine

Starting Over in Jamaica – Retiree in Jamaica

 It is no secret that the world is in the grip of an economic downturn.  Pressures of home foreclosure, job loss, and increased prices have caused many people to look outside their present home land for a solution.  Jamaica has appealed to many of them for good reasons.  The cost of quality of life in this Third World country is very attractive.  For the most part that is true, but the problem arises in making it happen.  With crime, corruption, and poverty prevalent island wide, Jamaica is not without its pitfalls.  The culture is also very different than First World countries, which takes time to understand and adjust to.  All of these obstacles can be overcome but the logistics of living and working here are a much greater challenge.  Finding a means of supporting oneself and a family can prove to be very difficult.  Unemployment is double digit and finding a business to invest your time and money into would have to be well thought out.  Whether you want to be an employee or an employer, there are very detailed processes to achieve to accomplish either goal.

Searching for an employment opportunity is the first step.  There are various avenues to explore that possibility, such as newspapers, employment agencies, and the internet.  Landing the position that interests you will most likely be very difficult.  All job positions have to be offered to Jamaican nationals first.  Your best chance of being hired is if you have qualifications for the position that couldn’t be sourced locally.  Now lets say you found such a position, both you and the prospective employer must come to an agreement.  The hiring process starts by applying for a work permit.  The application has some 51 questions that need to be answered by both parties involved.  One of the requirements is for the employer to be able to prove to the government that there weren’t Jamaicans more qualified than you for the position advertised.  This proof along with the application can now be submitted to the government for approval along with a non refundable application fee of JA $14,400.  The bureaucracy of this process can be quite a lengthy period of time.  You would not legally be able to commence work until, and if, the application is approved.  Should it be approved, there is a yearly fee of JA $108,000, which can be paid by the individual, company, or shared between both parties.  There have been reports in the media that the work permits would only be granted for three years in which time you would be required to train a Jamaican to fill the position at the end of the three year period.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave the country.  If you apply for permanent residency during this period and are accepted you would be allowed to remain in the position.  Permanent residency is another long drawn out procedure.  It takes a minimum of three years to obtain if you are lucky.  There isn’t a formal application, as with the work permit, but a list of documents that need to be submitted for investigation.  These documents cover all areas such as, health, criminal record, marriage and birth certificates, and most importantly financial records.  You are granted one year of temporary residency which must be renewed prior to your anniversary date of first application.  That pretty much covers becoming an employee.


To become an employer or entrepreneur, there are yet more procedures to follow.  My expertise in this area is very limited but I do know you must apply through Jamaica Trade and Invest, formerly JAMPRO, to obtain all their requirements.  For further information on starting your business in Jamaica please contact theirwebsite

.  As I write this, Jamaica Trade and Invest is going through an organizational change which will hopefully make your end result in a more efficient manner.

The only aspect of relocating to Jamaica I have covered this month is to help you find a source of income to meet your wants and needs.  Obviously, there is more to fulfilling your dreams.  Learning the ins and outs of their lifestyle is of utmost importance in order to adjust and survive.  Should you want more information on work permits, permanent residency, or Jamaican culture, please follow the link of feedback to me.  Later….   

About the author

John Casey