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wanting to move to Jost Van Dyke

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:55 am
by maggiemai
I am currently living in british columbia, Canada and am wanting a drastic change. I have been doing my best to research, the British Virgin Islands but am not having a lot of luck, with my lack of internet skills and what not.
I am just looking for suggestions, and advice on planning to move there. I would greatly appreiciate the help. I am also looking for employment, down there as well if anyone has any suggestions on how to find a job before moving.
thanx

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:54 pm
by Anthony
It is very hard to find work on an island before being there. It is also very hard to find work in the BVI - these are small islands with small populations and not a lot of jobs. If you really want a job and to live in the Caribbean, it would probably be easier to do it on a larger island. As a Canadian citizen I am not sure what your options - you need to look at some government sites and see just exactly is legal. Best of luck -

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 4:23 pm
by CaribSurfer
I have a home in the Caribbean and can shed some like on what's in store for you.

Taking up residence on a Caribbean Island is not an easy task. First off, most islands are independant nations and you just cannot show up to live and/or work on the island. You are considering immigrating to a foreign country so will have to first apply for residency status much the same as someone wanting to emigrate to Canada.

In the case of the BVI's if you are not already a BVI citizen but have qualified for residency you cannot live on the island for more than 6 months in any 12 month period and you must prove you have the financial means to support yourself without working as you cannot work in the BVI's without a Work Permit and these are very difficult to get. The only way you can remain on island for more than 6 months during any 12 month period would be to obtain a Work Permit or become a citizen (a very long and drawn out process).

To obtain a work permit you must possess a unique skill and your potential employer must demonstrate there are no locals qualified to fill that position. If granted the Work Permit must be renewed annually and there are never guarantees it will be renewed. The process can take as much as 6 months during which time you will not be allowed to remain on island. A work permit is valid only for the named person, spouses or children make not work unless they obtain their own permit.

The BVI's really make it difficult for non-belongers to reside in the islands. The government is more interested in gettng tourists to come, spend their money and go home.

You'll find similar laws restricting residency and work on just about every other island. Some islands require that you invest substantial monies in land or a business that will create jobs for the locals.

Do your research very carefully. Also, regardless of which island you choose you will need the help of a local attorney to guide you through the process, it's, long, arduous and every turn is filled with red tape.

Ask yourself why you want to move to an island. Simply because you want a "drastic change" may not be the right reason. Island life is not all palm trees and pina coladas. Island life is not better or worse it's just different from where you now live. Housing, transportation, electricity and food costs are going to be higher (everything has to be imported)and wages (assuming you qualify for a Work Permit) are generally lower that for a comparable position where you now live. Expect to pay duty (around 25% to 30%) on just about everything you import on to the island. The stores will not have the variety of goods you are used to seeing, there are no big shopping malls, medical care is not as good (most people go to San Juan or Miami for major illnesses). Everything runs on "island time" - appointments for home services such as air conditioner or appliance repairs may take days to get and when the repairman finally does show up it may be another 3 weeks before they get the right part from the manufacturer. You will still have to go to work each day (assuming you qualify for a Work Permit), pay bills, do the laundy, go grocery shopping and do any number of daily chores. In other words your daily life will still be the same, only the surroundings will change. Speaking of surroundings, islands are small. After a few trips around the area you'll find you can't take a drive "out to the country" - there's no place to really escape to without going off-island (which can get expensive). If you have children, you should be prepared to send them to private school rather than the local public schools if you want them to get a good education. Tuition can run anwhere from $3,000US to $10,000US (FYI-many Ex-Pats send their children to boarding schools in the US or England).

I point these things out not to disuade you but to give you some idea of what island life is really like. To many people think moving to the Caribbean will somehow solve all their problems and that's the furtherest thing from the truth. Those who come to the islands without fully researching all aspects of the move rarely stay for very long.

If you do decide to relocate to an island plan on making a pre-move visit to find out the particular island is right for you. Stay for several weeks, not at a resort but in a housekeeping unit, do your own cooking and laundry, scout out neighborhoods for housing to see if you can afford to rent or purchase and what you get for your particular budget, drive around the island during normal rush hour so you get a feel for commuting times, check out store prices for household staples. In otherwords try to approximate your daily life to see if island living appeals to you.

If you do make the move make sure you have enough money to cover your anticipated living expenses. You'll need deposits for your utilities, if you are renting expect upfront payments equal to one month's rent for security plus the first and last month's rent. Add to that money for your basic transportation (even a beat up "island car" will set you back several thousand dollars). Keep enough aside for a return ticket in case you decide island life is not for you.

Lastly, there's a lot of information on the internet about living and working in the Caribbean. As Anthony check out the government websites for the islands you are considering - you'll find detailed info regarding the immigration policies, procedures and fees that you will have to pay (local island governments charge fees for everything) Do a google search with topics like "Living in The Caribbean" or "Working in the Caribbean" and you find lots of websites with useful information.

I wish you good luck in following your dream.