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South African moving to Jamaica

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Juandreb1w
3/8/2018 19:04 EST

Hello, everyone!

My husband and myself, would like to make a permanent move to Jamaica in the next year or so,

We are not coming out of a great political climate, and were superbly afraid of not getting along with the locals. ( we want to open a small business, perhaps hire some of them etc) there's only so much you can read on the internet, and the culture of the people is largely left out. We would like to know, what to expect? What would be considered as a faux pass and what would be alright? When talking to a Jamaican?

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Marutti
3/8/2018 23:18 EST

Dear Juandreb1w,

Welcome to Jamaica Expat community and please, have your worries lifted off. Jamaica is a very very warm and welcoming country, most of the population is very heartkinded and open straightforward people, however it would really depend on what type of business are you planning on open up and in what area. Town is diffevent from mobay and mobay is diff from Ocho Rios, for example , there are specifics to each location and different dynamics and local rules: in Negril it's all targeted towards tourists, for example, hence prices are ridiculously high for same cheap things in Ochi and Kgt is multi-cultured and diverse place, with pretty much anything you'd like for your tastes..

If you don't mind me asking: what type of business are you thinking about and have you traveled to JA for some time before ? If you haven't yet, id consider a trip down here for a month and would spend at least a week or so in each major town and get familiarised with the dynamics. All in all, i would say that as long as you play by the rules and don't really engage into any unlawful activity, you should be fine. I am not Jamaican myself, am a white girl, living here and opening my own business and so far I can tell that encountered zero issues or problems of any sort .

please, feel free to chat , if you interested.

thank you!
m

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Juandreb1w
3/9/2018 06:08 EST

Hello! Thank you so much for the reply!

We're looking to set up a small restaurant, catering in popular South African foods, like vetkoek, melktert and koeksisters. A little slice of home if you will. At this point its just an idea, my husband has a business that does fairly well this side, and because our currency is relatively strong against the Jamaican dollar, we'd be okay during the setup of the new one.

We haven't actually been to Jamaica, we've always dreamed of going, but I take care of my terminally ill grandmother, so vacations are few and far between. We'll definitely look into it before we go, reconnaissance is a must!

I've read the cost of living is really high, and service delivery is not the best ( which if you're south african is kind of the norm, our telephone went down two months ago, still waiting for it to be fixed.) I've come to the conclusion that the Caribbean islands isn't much removed from how we do things in S.A. which is strangely comforting.

I am really interested in the culture. Are their different forms of the same? I'll be honest and say I don't know much about the belief systems of the people, etc.

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RickBlaine
3/9/2018 07:29 EST

Not to be Daniel Downer but....

I'm curious are you or your husband Jamaican by birth or are at least one of your parents Jamaican?

If not, how do you expect to stay here long term?

http://www.pica.gov.jm/immigration/general-immigration-information/permanent-residence/

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Juandreb1w
3/9/2018 09:00 EST

Hi there.

I suppose the same way other people who are not married to Jamaicans or descendents from Jamaicans manage to stay in country.

The link you attached has a number of subcategories, including retirement. My research suggests ( I have read the link you attached, including the process for naturalization, residency and extended stay.) That the process isn't much different from other countries, living on the island for 3-5 years, being financially stable, and not getting up to shenanigans and breaking the law.

Granted, that isn't a guarantee for citizenship, and honestly, one can never be sure. We are in contact with the embassy here and working through our options.

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ruthie14
3/9/2018 09:32 EST

Hi, I've visited Cape Town and it remind me a bit of Jamaica, with the mix of races and cultures and the combination of beautiful mountains and oceans. Also some of the same problems too -- crime, burglar bars on all the houses... I would say you definitely would want to visit before making any type of decision. Jamaica is a warm, welcoming place but also has many economic and political problems. Start reading the Daily Gleaner, the main local paper online to get a feel for some of them. I do think your business idea would do well in Kingston if you could make it happen, but know Jamaica is dealing with many of the same problems that South Africa is facing.

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RickBlaine
3/9/2018 10:37 EST

Juandreb1w, so you have no issues with being in a country illegally. Try opening a restaurant without having the proper documentation like at least a work permit. I own a business here and getting it incorporated, licensed and bank accounts is a process that required plenty of documentation and at least 1 Director that is a Jamaican national.

Sincerely, I wish you the best of luck.

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Marutti
3/9/2018 11:49 EST

Dear topic starter,

I am going to share with you my experience: just less than two weeks ago, i went to NBC and opened a business bank account without much trouble. All you need is two valid pictured ID, a TRN (tax number that i obtained earlier that week in less than 20 mins with just my passport), a valid prove of address: this could be any bill or in my case, because I am renting on a monthly basis and do not have any utilities registered to my name, I brought them a slip from FedEx under my name and my address. If you wont have anything shipped to that address yet, all you need to do is to send yourself a letter to his address. You would also need two references from either a pastor or a JP , but since I moved to JA recently, I didn't have no such people to use aa a reference, but i provided to contacts of two people who had an NCB account for longer than a year and that was just sufficient for opening an account. You can easily find people with NCB or any other bank account around your neighbours, friends or pretty much anybody you come in contact with.

In regards to your prolonged stay: Jamaican law is such that allows you to stay up to two years consequently if you register a business in the same Tax Office. It's an easy procedure that will require your TRN and bank account and the name and the nature of your business and also the address of course. So, as soon as you have decided on location, you can go to that area and register your business. At the same time, you can start gathering docs for your work permit, which usually requires three years, after which you can apply for work permit. But to register your business, you do not actually have to have a work permit. As long as you can prove that your business is legal and for the better of the country, you are good. I am opening my own restaurant here in Ochi, this is how I know all the details and me tells you is not that hard as it might seem to be.

Things are working here , yes, a tad slowly, but no major road blocks or problems or unnecessary dead ends like in many many other "progressive" or "first world" countries.

Yes, there is crime and burglary, but that is unfortunately the same picture as everywhere, more or less. Caution and street-smartness will shield and protect you.

Thank you!
m

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Juandreb1w
3/9/2018 12:46 EST

This was insanely helpful. Thank you so much! Goodluck with your venture and I'm wishing you all the best!

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Juandreb1w
3/9/2018 12:57 EST

Thank you for your reply!

Most of what I've seen seems to indicate that things work similarly to S.A. after you've lived here for a while crime and such becomes a normal part of the routine unfortunately. It's a rather irritating fact of life.

I'll definitely have a look at the daily gleaner, and at Kingston, thus far we've been looking at Ochio Rios as we've seen that the bigger cities are more expensive. It didn't cross our minds honestly.

Again, thank you! This was very helpful!

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Juandreb1w
3/9/2018 12:59 EST

I'm not entirely sure how you got to being an illegal immigrant. So far, all that I've said is that I've done research on how to be there legally, and stay there. Legally, we've gone as far as to contact the embassy to acquire the necessary information for it.

Thank you, all the same for your insight, and I wish you the best in your business.

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