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:
  1. Tourism
  2. Gambling
  3. Skilled Labour
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.

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.

Skilled Labour

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...".


At the Antigua and Barbuda Newsgroup, would-be expats and those who are already there discuss the joys and troubles of it.

  Frederik Ramm, 2002-01-04