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Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Old Apr 5th 2018, 12:11 pm
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Default Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Hi all,

we have finally decided to move to the Caribbean (yay!) from the UK but really need some help getting started. I would love to find a Caribbean immigration expert to just answer some basic questions, but they all seem to exist for foreign investors trying to get a Caribean passport. So if anyone here can offer advice that would be great...

Our island of choice is St Maarten, but it is a little trickier to move there with the Dutch rules, so we are thinking to move from the UK to another island, e.g. St Kitts, St Lucia, Barbados, etc. become resident and live for a while, before moving islands. While we wish to work locally (or remotely) we also have properties in the UK which are rented out and give us a decent income which we would use to live, but have no idea if this would be possible or would we be hit by double taxation, etc?

But the big question is - how do we start? As we have young children, and they would need a school, we obviously need them to be taken care of so can't just hop on a flight and hope for the best.

Has anyone who has done something similar got a good place to start?

Thank you so much!
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Old Apr 5th 2018, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

http://www.sintmaartengov.org/Govern.../resguide1.pdf
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Old Apr 5th 2018, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

I think you need to understand that each island is different with different rules regulations and requirements. Whilst there are several EU like organisations, their rules do not necessarily permit you to move countries to live and they usually only apply to citizens not people with a right to live somewhere.

Most islands do not allow any other route for citizenship except by investment or familial connection.

Some islands are also positively hostile to incomers, some more laid back.

I would strongly suggest you do your homework well, engage a recommended local lawyer to get you through any legal process and live wherever for at least a year before you invest or attempt the process to ensure you like wherever. As you might imagine, many people from colder climes want to live here in the sun, few actually achieve it.
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Old Apr 5th 2018, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Also, normally, non citizens are unlikely to be allowed to work unless they are special in some way or have some officially required skill, the process differs by island but typically you cant apply for a work permit, an employer has to, and to do that sometimes they pay thousands for each year, sometimes they have to prove no-one on the island can do the job and sometimes they have to prove you are a suitable person. A residents permit gives you some right to stay there possibly for x time, not to work.

Countries sometimes sign agreements to avoid double taxation, but sometimes not, depends, the uk has agreements with a lot - look it up on gov.uk.

It would be useful to know what your choice of island was based on? I assume you have lived there for a while or have connections there or a business with interests? Are you aware of the cost of living regarding transport, insurance, health and education?

Last edited by uk_grenada; Apr 5th 2018 at 7:06 pm.
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Old Apr 5th 2018, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

What he said, Delory! UK-Grenada is far and away the most knowledgeable person on BE about the Caribbean, and he doesn't make mistakes. I can tell you about Cayman, but it doesn't welcome foreigners unless they're very rich, so you can strike us off. (No, I'm not rich; we were grandfather'd in!) It is a British colony, but UK citizens get no priority at all here - and I should mention that people living in one British colony have no right to move to another, and get no priority for Work Permits.

The best thing for you to do is to fly out with your kids during one summer holiday and visit some of the islands. There really is no substitute for sampling before you move. Summer is the cheapest time to visit. It can get pretty hot then, but if you want to live here, you'll know about the heat, I guess.

Lastly, a place to start... Grenada might be best. Not Cayman, not Jamaica, not Montserrat, not St Thomas, probably not Puerto Rico for a while. Turks, maybe, or Bahamas on one of the Out Islands. (My son was in Nassau with a girlfriend over Easter, and they were warned not to go outside their hostel after dark. Cripes!)
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Old Apr 6th 2018, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Gordon - i’m humbled... One day we might meet...
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 1:28 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Thank you all so much for your help. Yes I realise that so many people wat to move but few ever do. We have already done a couple of fact finding trips to the islands, visited nine of them so far, and we just love it there. As you say the islands are all quite different, but we've been to St Maarten twice and were very happy there so it was the one we chose.

Thanks scot47 for the residency guide, I had actually missed that. While a lot of people move to the islands for work, and we would love to work there, I think it's a bit harder for us as we have such 'western' jobs - I work in IT and she works in HR in the city, however I did see in the residency guide that there is a director's permit that can be applied for, so I will investigate that. Also we are happy to invest in a property on the island but I'm not sure if there is a minimum spend. We were in Mauritius recently where they are inviting foreigners but you have to buy an expensive property in a foreigner's complex, you are not allowed to live amongst the locals.

But income wise we have enough to live on from our rental properties, depending on the tax situation. For instance do we still have to pay tax in the UK and also on the island, or do you just pay one or the other? I'll start researching the reciprocal tax agreements.

I guess I was wondering if it was possible to just 'move' there, in the same way as moving from the UK to France - there don't seem to be any restrictions at all, and the British govt even has a guide on their site telling you all the things you need to do to make life easier. I presume it depends on the island, but surely for a British or French island (apart from Cayman!) being a British citizen, while we are still in the EU, should make life easier shouldn't it?
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

In a word - no. There are restrictions in france and in just about all countries, you cant just move there and stay without informing the authorities and going through varios hoops. Its just that as a tourist in the eu it doesnt occur that if you just stay you incur all sorts of issues/risks/changes.

The islands that are still ‘owned’ are not treated as extensions of the mother country when it comes to immigration but they are all different, eg as you now inow in ex dutch islands being married to a dutch person makes a difference. Mauritius is an ex french colony hence all the frog visitors and the rich ghetto arrangements.

I seem to recall from the document above that you need 10 years residency before you can use the directors route? - no that was the sole proprietors route, directors need licenses of 2 sorts plus i guess a company incorporation in the country.

Incidentally, there are numbers of ICT jobs in the caribbean but there are also lots of caribbean professionals doing them, similarly, one of my relatives here is an HR manager in a resort.

Last edited by uk_grenada; Apr 15th 2018 at 1:49 pm.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Originally Posted by Delory View Post
But income wise we have enough to live on from our rental properties, depending on the tax situation. For instance do we still have to pay tax in the UK and also on the island, or do you just pay one or the other? I'll start researching the reciprocal tax agreements.
Here's a link that might be useful to you. I know nothing about taxes in St Maarten; you would have to ask the authorities there. I very much doubt if you'll be able to dodge UK tax on your rental income from UK properties, but you can check that with your local tax advisor before you leave.
https://assets.publishing.service.go...l-antilles.pdf
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

NB its not just the tax on property earnings, capital gains tax on all properties [the one you live in is exempt but you wont be..]. isnt pleasant and ive heard that dual taxation arrangements can make it worse for some countries. Be careful.
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Old Apr 15th 2018, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

You say you have visited 9 islands, but appear to know very little about the generic ir specific administrative regimes - how much time have you spent in these places/which?
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 5:46 pm
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Default any advice for the best school for a 7 years young ?

dear from forum
i should be in Barbados in july
i am exploring some site for a great school for my 7 yrs young daughter..
any advice or suggestions are Welcome
many thanks
max
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 6:54 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Ask the question in the barbados forum?
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Old Apr 30th 2018, 6:01 am
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Default Re: Moving to Caribbean, where to start - Help MUCH appreciated

Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
Ask the question in the barbados forum?
ok thanks
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