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Expat Advice: Working in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Port of Spain

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Most people are transfered in with their respective company. Generally local salary is not sufficient for an American lifestyle. Finding a local job and going on local payroll would be a challenge to say the least.

What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?

Geoscience - Work for a large multinational corporation. I was transfered to T&T two years ago.

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Need health insurance in Trinidad & Tobago? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?

Company provided. Be prepared to have every aspect of your life investigated when applying for a work permit. You will need official police records from every country that you have lived, official fingerprints, and lots of other information.

Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?

One day only. The problem with Trinidad is that it is a former British Colony so you expect a certain number of things to be familiar. This is not always the case. For instance, Trinidadians speak english but the accent is so heavy that you may not understand it the first 3 months or so.

If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?

Yes I was - my corporation has career advisors.

What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?

Even if you know it is going to be different in your new location, it is not the same living it as knowing it. Expect to be frustrated, even mad at local conditions and local authorities. Typically in developing countries there is a defined paper trail that MUST be followed exactly or you get nowhere. This includes work permits, phones, electricity, ... This is particularly true in Trinidad. In Trinidad it is often who you know rather than what you know. It pays to get to know people who can help you out in Trinidad. The locals are friendly to expats, but there is some minor anomosity due to the economic condition in which many Trinidadians find themselves.

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Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Port of Spain: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

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