One of the MOST asked questions I’ve received by email over the entire history of Jamaica My Way is,
“How do I get a job in Jamaica?”
Back in my early Jamaica days I would have asked the same question to anyone who would listen because I simply just wanted to be on the island and would have done anything in the world to figure out how. But over time I’ve learned the real answer to that question so I’m paying it forward and passing it on to all who have asked in the past and who will continue to ask in the future.
The simple answer to “How can I get a job in Jamaica?” is, YOU CAN’T. But I certainly have heard of exceptions to the rule so I’ll expand.
As of July 2016, the unemployment rate in Jamaica is a whopping 12.9% so that should tell you immediately that if employers can give a job to a Jamaican they WILL. And I think it should be that way. The country should absolutely employ its own before extending the search to outsiders, unless of course there are no qualified Jamaicans for the job.
In order for a Jamaican employer to hire a foreigner they must be willing to invest in a work permit which enables the foreigner to work in Jamaica. Work permits are not cheap whether obtained by you personally or by a company. At the time of this writing (2017) a work permit costs roughly $1200.00 CDN per year and is renewable each year. In addition to a work permit, the foreigner also needs a tax registration number which they would obtain themselves at a tax office.
Now, earlier in this post I mentioned that I have seen exceptions to the rule. I personally know of only two Canadians who were hired in Jamaica. One was hired by Sandals resorts and they did all the paperwork for her to be employed. The second was hired to manage a boutique hotel but she already had residence in Jamaica from a previous marriage so she didn’t need paperwork.
A couple of things to consider while you’re dreaming of finding a job in Jamaica:
A full-time wage on the island isn’t an amount you’d be accustomed to working for. Jamaican wages are low in comparison to foreign wages.
A high percentage of professional jobs are located in Kingston. It is a busy, bustling and fast city which may not fit in with the beachy Jamaican lifestyle you want.
So when I get an email asking how to get a job in Jamaica my reply would be as follows:
“You would be better off to start your own business on the island since it is difficult to just get a job as a foreigner. Jamaican companies will hire Jamaicans unless maybe they can’t find a qualified Jamaican for the job. Also, keep in mind that salaries are much lower in Jamaica and you may not be able to sustain yourself comfortably, especially if you still have bills to pay back home.”
However, there are a couple of job search websites you can look at that post jobs in Jamaica. You never know, maybe you’ll get lucky! Here are the job sites you can check out:
There are also a few job finding pages for Jamaica on Facebook but after inspecting them, most are network marketing opportunities, local bartending jobs, or people posting links to the jobs on the two websites I just mentioned above.”