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Old 02-20-2006, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default Working Carribean Advice?

I am planning to sail to the Caribbean from the UK via Brazil this winter. I will be very poor on this trip but dont really want to come home again. I was wondering i anyone knew about the possibility of working in the caribbean.

I am a university graduate but only speak english. I hope to have a TEFL (teaching english as foreign language) qulaification by the time i get there. Is it possible for a UK national to work there without special permits? What jobs are available? Is there anyway to get paid work involving boats?

If this isnt possible are there any alternatives, anywhere else i can work without returning to the uk?

Thanks in advance

Ben
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:19 PM   #2
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Big Ben,

"Anywhere else I can work without returning to the uk?"

Sure! Anywhere between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

You can go far, anywhere you wish, if you are honest, willing to work hard, share your knowledge and abide by local customs.

I frequently see "help wanted" ads from the British Virgin Islands. You'll still, however, have to jump through some hoops. And being a Subject of the Queen will not necessarily make it any easier. But it won't hurt, either. Start with a web search at www.BVI.com

I also recently played poker with a guy who owns an island near Virgin Gorda, Richard Branson, who occasionally hires Britts for seasonal work. You can reach him at www.neckerisland.com (just don't tell him that I sent you, okay).

"What jobs are available?" Everything from Accounting to Zoo Keeping.

Attitude and Determination are the keys.

There are all sorts of opportunities Out There... you just have to keep your eyes open and be prepared to jump when you see one.

Good luck,

Kirk
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:21 PM   #3
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You played poker with Richard Branson?

Wow...

Ben

6 days and 18 hours to go
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:45 PM   #4
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Ben, I agree with Kirk that some kind of work is available in many places. What needs to be added is that you may well need to be astute and cautious both when accepting it and while 'employed'. With few exceptions, poorer countries and island nations are very protective of local work going to local labor (vs. e.g. "wealthy yachtie foreigners"). What this means for you is that local labor laws will prohibit or at least make it very difficult for you to obtain a work permit and be legally employed. Consequently, many yachties do work 'under the radar', keeping a low profile, OR they move on to look for less risky work.

However, WRT to the Caribbean specifically, let me post below a segment of cruising notes I wrote for the Central Caribbean. This is an island nation that is eager to have non-residents as legal labor and, being a First World entity, the pay scales are far better than you'll find in most of the Caribbean. Just one more data point to consider:

"Employment: We don’t often read about employment opportunities (and hurdles) in cruising notes but some long-term cruisers do need to ‘work as they go’. If that’s you, give Grand Cayman a close look. When we visited in February, 2002 there were 600 job openings reported in the press despite a somewhat weak economy. The local chamber of commerce was holding a Job Fair, and many of the jobs – running dive operations, skippering boats for day charters, generally running the cruise ship & hotel tourists to the various sights to see, and trade work done by the yacht management/service businesses on the island – are especially suitable for cruising sailors. The banks and insurance companies also need employees who are computer literate and can perform IT, accounting and clerical tasks. One place to begin your job search might be the Employment Services Center (see the phone book), as it claims to serve in part as a clearinghouse for jobs. The ‘work permit’ process reportedly takes about 6 weeks, is initiated by the employer, and shouldn’t cost you a dime (farthing?). Both health insurance and an employee/employer contribution retirement plan are mandated by law, though you may need to encourage your employer to include you should s/he believe you are a short-term employee. (The retirement plan is portable after one year, which sounds like a long time but can go fast in this convenient location, and you can take with you the employer’s portion as well as your own). And while some cruisers purchase 2nd-hand cars while working ashore here, don’t forget that the island is small and the W end of Grand Cayman is covered by an extensive bus service. Visit the bus terminal area adjacent to the library for more information."

Jack
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:10 PM   #5
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That's all in general, pretty sound advice. Interesting to see that Cayman, during its rebuild, is recruiting, though I cant help wondering if their Immigration laws will revert back to making it harder for ex-pats once they've re-built their infrastructure.

I've lived in the BVI for 12 years now and I can tell you that Labour and Immigration depts are pretty much on top of people "under the radar" - and they dont like it!! Also, its a completely different thing living and working in these places than "just visiting". Too many people fall in love with these pretty places and friendly natives when they are on holiday and then find that attitudes change, prejudices become noticeable, and often claustrophobia sets in, when they actually try to settle.....Just some random thoughts.....Tony
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:19 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone

What you say is really helpful. I thought permits might be an issue, i guess i'll have to just see what happens. Cayman is defiantely an option.

Any further comments, thoughts are most definatly welcomed though.

Ben
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:29 PM   #7
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FYI Tony's comment about storm damage driving local govt'l attitudes towards foreign labor, that is not relevant to my posting. We were in Grand Cayman for a month or so in 2002, when there was no 'storm recovery' effort in place, when the general economy related to banks and stock brokerages was on the down side of the cycle, and when things were viewed to be otherwise 'normal'. The receptiveness of foreign labor (of a 'high-class' type, of course; Haitians not welcomed) is driven by both the heavy need to support the tourist industry (mostly, cruise ship visitors) and the island govt's reluctance to grant permanent resident status (and therefore, bountiful retirement and medical benefits) to most of the Cayman islanders who migrate at some point elsewhere. This reluctance reduces the desire to immigrate back to the island nation, thereby influencing the available labor pool.

I sure agree that being a 'resident' for an extended period of time wipes away the veneer of a place, and replaces it with the gritty realities...but where is that not the case?

Jack
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Old 02-22-2006, 08:33 PM   #8
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Everywhere gets boring after a while. I'm in edinburgh right now. Beautiful city, culture, history, good pubs, easy access to countryside around. But boy am i sick of it. What i wouldnt do to be messing around in boats somewhere far south of here.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:21 PM   #9
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I've lived in the BVI for 12 years now and I can tell you that Labour and Immigration depts are pretty much on top of people "under the radar" - and they dont like it!! Also, its a completely different thing living and working in these places than "just visiting". Too many people fall in love with these pretty places and friendly natives when they are on holiday and then find that attitudes change, prejudices become noticeable, and often claustrophobia sets in, when they actually try to settle.....Just some random thoughts.....Tony

Tony

I also lived in the area USVI (St. Thomas) for about 1 year , back in 1990 I believe, and was very surprised at the extreme prejudice I encountered by most of the black native people toward the white folks. I had never encountered anything like this before this or since, it gave me a taste of what it like living in the south for the black folks in reverse. It really opened my eyes that people hated you just for your color !

I also lived in Grand Cayman for a year in 86-87 and found them some of the most friendly people I have ever met. I worked grand Cayman and when I first arrived there , working on the building of the Hyatt Hilton there was a big ruckus from the native people protesting that all us foreign workers were there & not enough natives were working on the job, it was soon resolved and I made friends with them and was welcomed into there homes and lives, beautful people.

Ram
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:35 AM   #10
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Working the carribean is possible - I do it "sometimes" and have stuck to the following rules :-

Always smile

Complement something/anything and dont say anything negative.

I always insist that if they can find a local to do the job - Please dont offer it to me... This I say in company so people have no doubt - Immigration guys can be very nasty... And its not fair on the locals - cant afford sh1t with the locals...

My personal way is to say I can do the job and they can pay me what they think I am worth - I never ask for money , just mention that the beer kitty is a little low and I am not shy to see a charitable contribution ... So far I havnt been ripped off.

Under-cutting the local rate is thus "sort-of" avoided.

Just pitching for the 2nd day often impresses them - a lot of locals never pitch untill; the money runs out.

good luck
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