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Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Old Aug 14th 2009, 1:42 pm
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Default Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Hi, I'm new to the forum and hope that I might be able to get some advice..

I've been to Barbados many times as a tourist and have British friends who are now residents having lived on the island for 10 years.

They run a business on the Island providing fishing trips for tourists and now wish to retire and sell up. My British friend currently skippers the boat and employs one Bajan as crew.

I'm a qualified skipper and my wife is a teacher. We have 3 children, 16, 14 and 7.

Having just sold a business in the UK I have the means to pay cash for the Barbados fishing business and have around £100,000 left in liquid cash.

I have been reading up about the significant tightening up on immigration/work permit policy recently, so I'm worried about the chances of gaining a work permit to skipper my own boat should I buy the business?

Any advice on the current situation would be gratefully recieved. We have an appointment with the Barbados High Commision in London the week after next but are keen to do our homework first !!
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by RayB View Post
Hi, I'm new to the forum and hope that I might be able to get some advice..

I've been to Barbados many times as a tourist and have British friends who are now residents having lived on the island for 10 years.

They run a business on the Island providing fishing trips for tourists and now wish to retire and sell up. My British friend currently skippers the boat and employs one Bajan as crew.

I'm a qualified skipper and my wife is a teacher. We have 3 children, 16, 14 and 7.

Having just sold a business in the UK I have the means to pay cash for the Barbados fishing business and have around £100,000 left in liquid cash.

I have been reading up about the significant tightening up on immigration/work permit policy recently, so I'm worried about the chances of gaining a work permit to skipper my own boat should I buy the business?

Any advice on the current situation would be gratefully recieved. We have an appointment with the Barbados High Commision in London the week after next but are keen to do our homework first !!
Erm, honestly - I think it's doubtful you'd get a work permit, there are probably people in Barbados who can skipper that boat.

I could be right out of line there, maybe it's a dying trade and they're crying out for people, but given that it's an island famed for its seafood, I imagine there are a number of Bajan people qualified to run fishing trips.

Sorry for the bad news!
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by Ikon View Post
Erm, honestly - I think it's doubtful you'd get a work permit, there are probably people in Barbados who can skipper that boat.

I could be right out of line there, maybe it's a dying trade and they're crying out for people, but given that it's an island famed for its seafood, I imagine there are a number of Bajan people qualified to run fishing trips.

Sorry for the bad news!
An interesting point. Sure there are plenty of Bajans who can skipper a boat - partly because there is no mandatory qualification to do so there. Which is hugely different to the UK.

Here I have a commercial skippers licence to operate the same trips in the UK.

So, that poses a question - if I owned the business could I insist that any Bajan skipper running my boat needs to be formally qualified to UK/USA or equivalent standards as these would be my business requirements as opposed to local mandatory requirements?
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

I would assume if you own the business you can impose any recruitment criteria you like when taking someone on to run it for you.....
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 4:12 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by Ikon View Post
I would assume if you own the business you can impose any recruitment criteria you like when taking someone on to run it for you.....
I would have thought so too, so I'd need to employ a Bajan qualified to my international standards, which may not exist?
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 4:17 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by RayB View Post
I would have thought so too, so I'd need to employ a Bajan qualified to my international standards, which may not exist?
I guess you could argue that..... Dunno if Immigration would go for it, I think the onus would be on you to prove that the business can't function without that, and that a Bajan couldn't reasonably be expected to do the same job.

If they think you're trying to impose conditions that aren't pursuant to Bajan law in the hope of gaining a work permit for yourself, they'll just turn it down. Not to be negative, but bear in mind the government's focus is on closing loopholes and helping the people already living here into work, not agreeing to put barriers in their way that don't even exist in their own laws.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

How do your British friends running the business organise it now? Or were they here before Immigration was tightened up the way it is now?
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by Ikon View Post
How do your British friends running the business organise it now? Or were they here before Immigration was tightened up the way it is now?
The latter - they were here before the laws were tightened!

That said, they have pointed out to me that the business is international - ergo no sales to locals and that could be a legitimate reason to grant a work permit. For example, all trade advertising for clients is in USA and UK - so all sales and income is coming from overseas?

Given that international/export business is actively encouraged this might be a legitimate way in?
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by RayB View Post
The latter - they were here before the laws were tightened!

That said, they have pointed out to me that the business is international - ergo no sales to locals and that could be a legitimate reason to grant a work permit. For example, all trade advertising for clients is in USA and UK - so all sales and income is coming from overseas?

Given that international/export business is actively encouraged this might be a legitimate way in?
It's a tough one - they can be ridiculously closed-minded, as I'm sure others on this board can attest, even when businesses bring money in from overseas they can be very unsupportive.

There again, Immigration were great with me and I found the whole process fairly pain-free. It may depend on the individual you deal with, as ridiculous as that is.

The best advice for making any application I can give is - use a lawyer, use a lawyer, use a lawyer! They'll know the answers to these things and how best to make your application so that both you and the government feel you're getting what you want.
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 7:20 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by Ikon View Post

The best advice for making any application I can give is - use a lawyer, use a lawyer, use a lawyer! They'll know the answers to these things and how best to make your application so that both you and the government feel you're getting what you want.
I already have a lawyer lined up in Bridgetown and reading up on the Tourism Investment strategies of the government it seems that I may well have a legitimate angle for entry
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Old Aug 14th 2009, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Ok.. here is my 2 cents. You are buying an existing business. you are the owner and have the license that you as the business owner require for your boat. You are putting money into the economy but it is still your business. What ever you do.. DO NOT try to make this into an exclusive operation where no local can contact you to do fishing trips.. you would likely be told to go elsewhere. I would seriously suggest that you leave this in the hands of the high commission and let them help you figure this out. Yes, to operate your boat and to work in the business you would need a work permit, but you have specific needs that may or may not be filled by a local.

I knew a guy years ago who purchased a restaurant, was a trained chef and ran the business. He got his work permit (ok ok, i know, this was years ago) just by the fact that he had contributed 40,000.00 to the buying of the business. now this may not work today, and it might not work for every business.. but.. never say never.
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Old Aug 15th 2009, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Welcome to the forum, fellow Brightonian!!

I have to agree with Ikon - take advice from a lawyer......i don't know who you intend to use, but my lawyer here is a Brit, and tends to get things done rather more sharpish than some others. Let me know if you want her contact details.

Good luck!!
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Old Aug 18th 2009, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by RayB View Post
Hi, I'm new to the forum and hope that I might be able to get some advice..

I've been to Barbados many times as a tourist and have British friends who are now residents having lived on the island for 10 years.

They run a business on the Island providing fishing trips for tourists and now wish to retire and sell up. My British friend currently skippers the boat and employs one Bajan as crew.

I'm a qualified skipper and my wife is a teacher. We have 3 children, 16, 14 and 7.

Having just sold a business in the UK I have the means to pay cash for the Barbados fishing business and have around £100,000 left in liquid cash.

I have been reading up about the significant tightening up on immigration/work permit policy recently, so I'm worried about the chances of gaining a work permit to skipper my own boat should I buy the business?

Any advice on the current situation would be gratefully recieved. We have an appointment with the Barbados High Commision in London the week after next but are keen to do our homework first !!
Just my 2 cents which is just a shot in the dark but. I think you will be OK depending on what you're actually doing. If just buying a bout then maybe not so much. But if you are actually buying an existing business based out of Barbados then its not so much that a Bajan can skipper the boat. Your permit is for managing of the business and then running your business (which is skippering the boat) It seems to me it would be like buying a restaurant and being the head chef in that restaurant versus applying to be a chef in said restaurant. You would not be competing with another local skipper you would just be keeping your cost down by doing the things that you are clearly competent (and licensed) enough to do yourself.

A lawyer is definetly the right way to go butmore importantly find out how well this industry is doing and if others are shutting up shop as well. Because many tourist based businesses are having issues now and it doess seem to be a very seasonal as well as up and down occupation. Good luck and don't be discouraged
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Old Aug 19th 2009, 10:38 am
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Originally Posted by bimbound View Post
Just my 2 cents which is just a shot in the dark but. I think you will be OK depending on what you're actually doing. If just buying a bout then maybe not so much. But if you are actually buying an existing business based out of Barbados then its not so much that a Bajan can skipper the boat. Your permit is for managing of the business and then running your business (which is skippering the boat) It seems to me it would be like buying a restaurant and being the head chef in that restaurant versus applying to be a chef in said restaurant. You would not be competing with another local skipper you would just be keeping your cost down by doing the things that you are clearly competent (and licensed) enough to do yourself.
Unfortunately I'm not sure Barbados immigration makes the same distinctions you do - they simply see it as somebody wanting to work here, whether they own the business or are applying to work for someone else.

The focus is ALWAYS on "Is a Bajan person able to do this job with reasonable training?", they're looking to create jobs for people who already have permission to work here, ie. locals. I own businesses on the island, and I'm certain that if I asked for permission to work in them it would be denied because other people can perform the tasks I'd be doing, so I pay Bajan people to run those businesses for me.

There's some more info in this thread that might be worth reviewing: http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=589760
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Old Aug 19th 2009, 10:56 am
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Default Re: Business Opportunity Barbados and Re-Locating

Hi, I am fairly new on this forum, but like to think i know a little bit about Barabados, having lived there for almost 20 years.
Over the years I have known several fishing boat operators/owners. The tourist fishing trade has been a strugling one for years, with ups and downs, seasonal, many of the boatowners have other businesses on the side as this trade is very unreliable to depend on, very risky with a family , or the boats are owned by businesspeople who have them operated by locals, for a salary.
Also the trade depends on getting tourists AND fish sales, in the fishing industry, every day is fishing, but not every day is catching.
Have to agree with bimbound, check the fact and figures very carefully, to maintain a family of 5, you could be going through your savings pretty fast, sorry, this might not be what you want to hear, it might be very risky.
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