Working in the Caribbean

27 April 2005
Working in the Caribbean


  • In all of these islands, the way of life and the climate are your key benefits
  • On some islands, there is no income tax to pay - for example, the Bahamas.


  • None of the islands are large, and any kind of socialising will be observed and commented on - you'll be living in a goldfish bowl of sorts
  • You'll be working on the days you most want to be outside
  • Some islands may be in the paths of hurricanes, particularly at the beginning of September, and these can be devastating
  • Import duty is high, particularly on alcohol.

Where to find out more


The biggest, and probably the most prosperous, of the Caribbean islands, Barbados has been the winter haunt of wealthy Europeans and Americans for quite some time. The west coast, away from the surf of the Atlantic, is where all the upmarket hotels are, but there are several three- and four-star operators on the island as well. As with other islands, you'll need a work permit, and your employer must show you have key skills not otherwise available.

General facts
Official name:
Population: 264,000
Capital: Bridgetown (99,000)
Languages: English
Currency: Barbados dollar
Religions: Protestant Christian, others
Land area: 430 sq km (166 sq miles)

St Lucia

Once, this island's main economic focus was producing bananas, but a change in the EU import preference regime has led to economic diversification. Offshore banking and tourism are therefore increasingly important. With a central ridge of forested mountains, two volcanic cones on the southwest coast, and a ring of sandy beaches, St Lucia is an easy sell for the tourist board.

General facts
Official Name:
Saint Lucia
Population: 150,000
Capital: Castries (50,000)
Languages: English, French Patois
Currency: East Caribbean dollar
Religions: Catholic Christian, Protestant Christian, others
Land area: 616 sq km (238 sq miles)
Climate: tropical, with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to August

Where can I find out more?

General info:
Tourism site:
Government site:


The country once played host to the British Royal Navy fleet and, as a result, has an interesting historic background. It's a popular tourist destination, with low humidity, and the deep-water port at St John's is regularly visited by cruise ships. There is great scuba diving in the vicinity and fantastic beaches, one for every day of the year.

General facts
Official name:
Antigua and Barbuda
Capital: St. John's
Languages: English (official), local dialects
Currency: East Caribbean dollar
Religions: Christian (Anglican, Protestant, Catholic)
Population: 67,897 (July 2003 estimate)
Land area: 443 sq km - Antigua, 280 sq km; Barbuda, 161 sq km; Redonda, 2 sq km

Where can I find out more?

One expatriate's view of working on the island:


Columbus found the island on his third voyage to the New World and named it Concepcion. Later, the French settled the island, but by 1974 it had gained its independence. Once famous for its spices of mace and nutmeg, Grenada's main focus today is tourism.

With a central mountain ridge covered in lush rainforests, and numerous bays and harbours sporting beautiful unspoilt beaches, Grenada has a growing reputation in the travel industry. But Grenada was badly hit by Hurricane Ivan in autumn 2004, and at least four of its resorts have closed for a year to refurbish.

General facts
Official name:
Population: 94,000
Capital: St. George's (population: 4,500)
Languages: English (official), French patois
Currency: East Caribbean dollar
Religions: Christian (Catholic, Anglican), others
Land area: 345 sq km (133 sq miles)

Where to find out more

Forum and chatrooms on life in Grenada:
Official tourism site:


More than 700 islands make up this archipelago spread off the western coasts of Florida and Cuba. The USA and Britain gained control of the islands in the 18th century, and it wasn't until 1973 that the Bahamas gained full independence. The islands are ringed by coral reefs and aqua waters that make them a joy for scuba diving enthusiasts. Tourism is the main industry and the islands are a hugely popular destination. Work permits are generally only given to senior staff in companies.

General facts
Official name:
Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Capital: Nassau (population: 222,000)
Languages: English, Creole
Currency: Bahamian dollar
Religions: Christian (Baptist, Anglican, Catholic), others
Population: 320,000

Where to find out more


Bermuda is a British overseas territory with income per capita equal to that of the USA. For this reason, many of its inhabitants return to the island after studying or working abroad. It has a healthy tourist industry. Bermudian immigration laws are extremely strict and UK citizens do not qualify for the right to live and work there.
The island also has high accommodation costs, so some expatriate staff are now prohibited from bringing their spouses and children when they come to work.

The Bermudian Government will bring in changes from April 2007 allowing work permits to be issued only to key senior staff in the private sector, and then only for companies that pass stringent immigration tests. Expatriates currently in the country will be asked to leave unless they fall into this category.

General facts

Official name: Bermuda
Capital: Hamilton
Languages: English, Portuguese
Currency: Bermudian dollar
Religions: Christian (Protestant, 39%; Anglican, 27%; Roman Catholic, 15%), other, 19%
Population: 64,482
Land area: 53.3sq km (20.5sq miles)
Land forms are generally flat land, rising to low hills. Bermuda includes about 140 offshore coral islands and/or islets. There are no rivers or lakes.
Climate: subtropical; mild, humid; gales, strong winds common in winter. During the winter months (December through March), temperatures average 70ºF. The hottest part of the year is between May and mid-October, when temperatures range from 75ºF to 85ºF. The summer months are somewhat drier, although rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

Where to find out more:

General facts:
Tourism site:
Specific info on getting work permits:

Trinidad and Tobago

The country is one of the most prosperous island nations in the Caribbean, because of its offshore petroleum resources and natural gas production and processing. Tourism is also a significant industry here, with most visitors favouring the idyllic island of Tobago.

General facts
Official name:
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Population: 1,362,000 (Tobago, 75,000)
Capital: Port-of-Spain (population: 45,300)
Languages: English (official), Hindi, others
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar
Religions: Catholic, Hindu, others
Land area: 5,128sq km (1,980sq miles)

St Kitts & Nevis

Both islands are volcanic in origin and are covered with rainforests nd green valleys, and edged by miles of pristine beaches. St Kitts is a cruise ship destination, and the waters around the island attract those keen to scuba dive and snorkel. Both islands are known for their low-key, relaxed atmosphere, and for their welcoming hospitality.

General facts

Official name: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Population: 38,500
Capital: Basseterre (population: 11,500)
Languages: English (official)
Currency: East Caribbean dollar
Religions: Christian (Anglican, Protestant, Catholic) Worldwide jobs in deluxe hotels, restaurants & cruise lines.
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