There are some key things that one should know before working and living in Jamaica. It involves doing extensive research about the country especially if you have a family that would be moving with you. Jamaica is known to be a great vacation destination but vacationing and living there are two completely different things. There are also necessary documents that would be required before making that decision. Here are 5 key things to consider before moving to Jamaica:
Obtain a Work-Permit and Visa
In order to do this, all Non-Jamaicans would have to apply before arriving to the country by contacting the Office of the Minister of Labor which is located at 1F North Street, Kingston Jamaica W.I. The documents that are required are:
- A completed and signed work permit application (you as the employee only have to fill out part one, that is, questions 1-29).
- The application fee, which depends on your chosen industry.
- A cover letter written by your employer, detailing the reasons for the application, a job description, the duration of your contract, and the fact that no suitable applicant could be found within Jamaica.
- Your resume
- Certified copies of your credentials.
- Your police record.
- Two passport-sized photographs, (passport must be valid for at least six months after the application.)
- Passport must be valid for
- Two copies of your passport.
- A completed application for taxpayer registration in the form of a Tax Compliance Certificate.
- You would also need your travel itinerary or a return ticket. There are also some other supporting documents as in a recent bank statement as proof of funds, accommodating arrangements, and a letter from your employer. The visa requirements vary, if you are coming from a certain country may not be required anymore you would have to check with the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Another exception to the requirement of a visa is if you a married to a Jamaican citizen or you are journalist, director, inspector or an auditor of Jamaica-based branches of company.
- a completed application for taxpayer registration in the form of a Tax Compliance Certificate
Finding a place to live in Jamaica
This is dependent on where you will be working. If you are working in Kingston there are tons of places of different price ranges whether you are moving as an individual or with a family. Rent in Jamaica for example is very cheap in comparison to the United States for example. You can find places from USD$300 but if you want a place in a more upscale area, or one that is larger then you should be able to find places ranging from USD$1000 to USD$2000. If you are working in tourist areas like Ocho Rios and need a place to stay there then expect the prices to exceed these amounts. If you are going to be in Jamaica long term then buying a place isn’t so bad either. And when you are done you can sell it back for a profit as real estate prices are only increasing.
Our advice is to search the Jamaica Gleaner Classifieds online or one of the many real estate companies in Jamaica such as Millennium properties or Victoria Mutual Property Services. Here you can find places to buy or rent in many areas. This will help massively to narrow your search and helpful reps are there to assist you.
Figuring out transportation
The roads in Jamaica have significantly improved over the years. However, depending on where you plan to live do expect roads the rural area of the country to not be as great. A 4×4 vehicle is probably the best vehicle but purchasing a 4-door sedan should be just as good. Jamaica is part of the Commonwealth, which means motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road. A large part of the Jamaican road infrastructure suffers from years of neglect and disrepair. You might encounter problems like giant potholes, marked construction sites, inadequate street signage, or intimidating local driving. Drive with caution until you have acclimatized to the local road rules and avoid driving at night whenever possible. Always be on the lookout for jaywalking pedestrians and cyclists.
Another option is to rent or lease a car depending on how much time you spend in Jamaica. If you go back and forth to the states then this might be the most affordable options. Here at Hummingbird we offer the best rental car rates on the island for long term rentals and leasing from 1 to 12 months.
Public transportation is also available and is cheap and widely available in the cities and gets more expensive and infrequent as you go into the more rural areas. There are many options available from public buses and taxis that run specific routes, to taxis available for private hire, and air-conditioned highway buses that take you from one end of the island to the other.
Check out our blog post Driving in Jamaica for more tips.
Cost of living
Shopping in Jamaica will cost, expect to pay between 16.5% to 20% consumption tax on nearly everything that you purchase. Supermarket shelves are stocked with your favorite American and UK brands but they cost more than they do back home. You can save money purchasing Jamaican products, and getting your fruits and vegetables at the local market. These are often more affordable and fresh. Upscale restaurants are also a much more expensive than local shops.
This link is extremely helpful if you want to workout exact monthly expenses for living in Jamaica in 2019: expatistan.com
Health care is available in most major cities and larger towns throughout Jamaica, but may be hard to locate in rural areas. There are about 35 hospitals on the island. Expats say the best doctors that would be available to you would be in the Kingston or Montego Bay areas. Keep in mind that many doctors and hospitals expect payment on the spot, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance. Many pharmacies are well supplied and should have all the medication you would get in your home country. Doctor visits whether eye care, dental, pediatric, general, psychiatric and even hospital is known to be much more affordable in Jamaica than in the United States or UK. So you should worry too much about this aspect of working and living in Jamaica.
There you have it. Our tips to get you ready for working and living in Jamaica. To summarize, key areas to consider are paperwork, finding a place to live, transporting, cost of living and health care. We hope this helped. If you think we left out anything important, please feel free to leave a comment below.