Working as an Expat on Antigua
If you like the idea of living on an island in the Caribbean,
at least for a limited time, there's no reason why you shouldn't
give it a try. You most likely won't get rich by working there -
the salary vs. cost of living balance is worse than in the US
and in most European countries. But you'll still have a good time
and (depending on the length of your stay and the legal situation
in your country of origin) save on taxes. There are numerous
employment opportunities, for example:
Of course it will be a great help for you if you know somebody
on Antigua who can make the necessary contacts, help you obtain
the required work permit in advance and so on. If that someone
is a person who happens to know a few members of the government,
the whole process might speed up considerably.
- Skilled Labour
However, if you are not desperate for a job, you might also be
able to travel to Antigua and look around for yourself - if you
find someone who has work for you, you stay, and otherwise you
just treat it as a nice vacation.
It seemed to me that most of the "outsiders" on Antigua who worked
in the tourism industry were either employed by one of the big hotels
and resorts - often as sailing, surfing, or diving teachers - or they
were catering to the sailing folks in the South of the island one way
or other. (Which also includes working on boats, in boat maintenance,
and so on.) Obviously, these jobs are only available during the high
season; there's only very few sailing ships during the "Hurricane
Season" from June to November, and while the tourism business doesn't
seem to be as seasonal as it once was, Americans and Brits, who form
the biggest groups of guests on the island, are not drawn to Antigua
in high numbers during summer "at home".
Antigua has three or four regular casinos, and over 50 online casinos
and betting shops. Many of those casinos are operated in a rather
clandestine way by groups of people ferried to Antigua from abroad;
they often keep a low profile because of possible reprimands against
their employees "at home". For example, it is not only illegal to operate
an online casino in the United States, it is also illegal for US citizens
to work for an online casino elsewhere, and they can be jailed upon return
if anyone finds out - even if the operation on Antigua is perfectly legal
and approved by the Antiguan government. But nonwithstanding that
secrecy, if you have any kind of IT
skills (most of them don't develop software on Antigua, but they will need
network administrators, security guys, script writers, or just admin
personnel who carry the pager and press the right buttons when something
goes wrong), you should be able to land a job with one of them. I have
seen numerous adverts in the local papers, and otherwise just try the
word-of-mouth method, starting in one of the larger bars.
You might want to check the legal situation in your home country before
if you plan to return there.
In my experience, the quality of many basic services on Antigua - Plumbers, Joiners,
Builders, Carpenters, Electricians - leaves something to be desired. That
may be due to the limited availability of material (with anything more complicated
than nails and screws imported from Miami), or just lack of expertise. It's
not that you can't find people to do a job the way you want, but it takes
time and, often, more than one attempt.
Knowing that the rates for these services are about the same as I'm used to from
Europe, this makes me think that if you have good skills in one of these areas,
you should be able to work on Antigua or even set up a business of your own.
If you provide any service that can be used by the multitude of companies who
set up their office or move offices all the time and whose executives come from
an European or American background, you're settled - word of mouth will establish
your business faster than you can print a business card.
This advice should be taken with a grain of salt because I've never tried it
myself and I don't know how many bureaucratic hurdles have to be mounted...
Send me Feedback!
If you are working as an Expat on Antigua, or if you have been in the
past, why don't you help me making this page more useful? Send me an eMail and
tell me what you're doing and how you got to do it, and I'll put the information
on this page - anonymously of course, in the style of "one reader told me...".
would-be expats and those who are already
there discuss the joys and troubles of it.
Frederik Ramm, 2002-01-04