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Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Old Jan 8th 2019, 3:50 pm
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Default Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Hi everybody

Im new here and hoping I can finally get some info on moving to St Lucia(it’s very difficult to find exact info or get email replies from St Lucia).

I have dual nationality- British and Vincentian. I’ve visited St Vincent many times and would have moved there if I believed there were enough work opportunities for all three of us. Nearby St Lucia seems to be a much more viable option for us.

What I need to know is.....how to go about it?
From what I’ve read, as an OECS passport holder, I can live and work in St Lucia. I’ve also read that my spouse and dependants are entitled to come with me.
However, my spouse and child both only have British passports and my son is now 18.
Can anyone tell me where we stand with living and working in St Lucia and what paperwork we may have to obtain/complete?

So, once(if) we get past that stage, we’re planning on finding somewhere to rent and work before we come if possible. We at least need to find somewhere to stay before we leave the UK. Can anyone recommend where we can look for rentals and work?
What areas are best to rent in(we’re not rich lol)?

Also, the ideal was to buy some land but we don’t know where to start with this. We can’t afford to buy property but I did read something about vendor funded sales? How does this work and how can we find out about it? Is this an option?

Sorry for so many questions, I could ask a million more but these are the main ones we need answers to. Thank you! 😊
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Old Jan 20th 2019, 8:48 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Originally Posted by OneLoveD View Post
Hi everybody

Im new here and hoping I can finally get some info on moving to St Lucia(it’s very difficult to find exact info or get email replies from St Lucia).

I have dual nationality- British and Vincentian. I’ve visited St Vincent many times and would have moved there if I believed there were enough work opportunities for all three of us. Nearby St Lucia seems to be a much more viable option for us.

What I need to know is.....how to go about it?
From what I’ve read, as an OECS passport holder, I can live and work in St Lucia. I’ve also read that my spouse and dependants are entitled to come with me.
However, my spouse and child both only have British passports and my son is now 18.
Can anyone tell me where we stand with living and working in St Lucia and what paperwork we may have to obtain/complete?

So, once(if) we get past that stage, we’re planning on finding somewhere to rent and work before we come if possible. We at least need to find somewhere to stay before we leave the UK. Can anyone recommend where we can look for rentals and work?
What areas are best to rent in(we’re not rich lol)?

Also, the ideal was to buy some land but we don’t know where to start with this. We can’t afford to buy property but I did read something about vendor funded sales? How does this work and how can we find out about it? Is this an option?

Sorry for so many questions, I could ask a million more but these are the main ones we need answers to. Thank you! 😊
I've never been successful in getting emailed responses from anybody in St Lucia, so much so that I once opened a thread on here regarding the matter.

I would suggest that you email the St Lucia High Commission in the UK in the hope that you will have better luck.

My family have St Lucia Citizenship - not me though, and we were interested to staying in Grenada under CSME and the OECS free movement and Grenada advised the normal stay limits for me as though I were a tourist, but they are more flexible than St Lucia - longer stays and cheaper fees.

I would expect that for YOU it will be fairly straight-forward getting St Lucia to allow you to work, particularly if you have papers with qualifications and skills but I'm not sure that your spouse would be able to seek employment without a work permit.

Accommodation-wise you could look to rent on a long-term basis and find it's a buyer's market if you can demonstrate that you would be a good tenant and pay the rent. Typically, buying is both expensive and also buying into a dead asset in terms of liquidity - it's been that way for decades, unless you are in a popular condo development, and they are typically expensive. You could buy land and build but you need local advice on where to buy and a good reputable builder - no mean task.

In my experience, very surprisingly, there is better value housing in Grenada and even Barbados, the latter due to the good level of supply. In St Lucia, life is very much focused on one area North of Castries (Gros Islet, Rodney Bay and surrounding) so prices tend to be higher there. Even doctor's, lawyers and utility offices have set-up shop there to increase the popularity.

We own property South of Castries and the rainfall where we were is more than twice the level that it is in the North, and that also has to be factored in, for some. However, living on the edge of the rainforest has its own delights.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Jan 20th 2019 at 9:12 am. Reason: We own property South of Castries and the rainfall where we were is more than twic
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Old Jan 20th 2019, 9:24 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Hi and thanks for your reply!

I’ve now finally managed to get a reply(all be it that they are still finding the answers to my questions) from the St Lucia Embassy in London.
I have been informed that it’s no problem for me to enter St Lucia and to work, so that’s one plus. Although going by your comments I’m now slightly worried it’s going to be difficult for my fiancé and son :/
Not liking the sound of property prices etc either but I guess we can only try and see how we get on.
We had previously considered Granada, maybe we should look there again....although I’ve fallen in love with the idea of St Lucia tbh. Barbados was another consideration and I have some family there but as they are not part of the OECS, my passport would not allow me to live/work there, making things more difficult.
We have a year to try and work out what’s best, so I’ll keep doing my research.

If you know of any reputable estate agents to help us find rentals/ purchase land please do let me know.

We’re also currently trying to work out if we’re best selling everything we own and starting afresh when we get there or shipping some of our things over to the Caribbean? Any wise thoughts on this would be appreciated! Thanks again....
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Old Jan 20th 2019, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Originally Posted by OneLoveD View Post
Hi and thanks for your reply!

I’ve now finally managed to get a reply(all be it that they are still finding the answers to my questions) from the St Lucia Embassy in London.
I have been informed that it’s no problem for me to enter St Lucia and to work, so that’s one plus. Although going by your comments I’m now slightly worried it’s going to be difficult for my fiancé and son :/
Not liking the sound of property prices etc either but I guess we can only try and see how we get on.
We had previously considered Granada, maybe we should look there again....although I’ve fallen in love with the idea of St Lucia tbh. Barbados was another consideration and I have some family there but as they are not part of the OECS, my passport would not allow me to live/work there, making things more difficult.
We have a year to try and work out what’s best, so I’ll keep doing my research.

If you know of any reputable estate agents to help us find rentals/ purchase land please do let me know.

We’re also currently trying to work out if we’re best selling everything we own and starting afresh when we get there or shipping some of our things over to the Caribbean? Any wise thoughts on this would be appreciated! Thanks again....
A Vincentian passport is supposed to still allow you free movement into Barbados under Caricom's CSME but there has been much haggling over this recently because countries at the top of the Caricom 'food chain' such as Barbados have still been preaching Bajans First policy, so contrary to the spirit of CSME.

Note that FIANCE is a whole different ball-game from SPOUSE. Spouses have automatic rights which fiances do not.

I would try Blue Reef in St Lucia for real estate - they seem ok.

Note that because St Lucia is a former colony, it's High Commission, not Embassy. Likewise, the UK has a High Commission in St Lucia.

When we left St Lucia, we brought only our basic belongings in ten suitcases with us on the plane. You could indeed ship everything you own over but it is expensive. There are plenty of good local joiners, many of whom make beautiful furniture. UK appliances will work ok but they are expensive to ship. Courts will sell you appliances, TVs, Microwaves, you name it and there are others such as Johnson's Hardware. BTW, if you have the time and patience, you can slowly build up your furniture and appliances to a complete package by going to garage sales.

IF you do ship everything in, you get it all duty free and you can also buy a car locally duty free. That means that IF you bought any of your stuff duty free (for export) in the UK, you are ahead of the game.
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Old Jan 20th 2019, 6:29 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Hey

Thanks again, that’s really helpful!

My my fiancé will be my spouse before we move, if we get our butts in gear and sort it out! Lol

Will take a look at Blue Reef. Rental prices seem quite reasonable.
I think you’ve convinced me that we’d be better off selling most of our stuff here. My other half is a fabricator/welder, so great at making a lot of things and I’m sure we’ll be able to pick up the rest reasonably easily then. However, I will look into the duty free option.

Oh and yes, the embassy, commission thing was my morning brain not working properly! 😂

Thanjs again for being so helpful.
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Old Mar 7th 2019, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

If you decide Grenada - which i do know is actually easier - ask me about it, i live here. The rules here - even if you have zero connection you can arrange to live here permanently if you follow the correct path, and that isnt by ‘citizenship by investment of a gazillion eurodollarpounds...’
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Old Mar 7th 2019, 1:04 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
If you decide Grenada - which i do know is actually easier - ask me about it, i live here. The rules here - even if you have zero connection you can arrange to live here permanently if you follow the correct path, and that isnt by ‘citizenship by investment of a gazillion eurodollarpounds...’
Thanks for your reply UK Grenada!

Oh really?! That’s interesting to know, I’d love to know more!
I may not have a choice, as the St Lucia high commission in London are no longer replying and have not yet given me an answer, as to where we stand. There is a lovely man in St Lucia government offices trying to find out for me but I’ve been waiting weeks.
I cannot believe it’s such a difficult question or that nobody has been in this situation before!
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Old Mar 7th 2019, 1:16 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Firstly the oecs and caricom freedom of movement regs are just that - you can move freely and stay freely BUT you cant work unless you meet some specific criteria. You’ll never get through that mess unless you are actually on the island - either one - i suspect. However i think youll find you can work - assuming you can get a job.

Even if you have no connection you can renew a 3 month visitors visa pretty much indefinitely for little money so long as you have an address, money to support yourself and dont get into trouble with the police. After 3 years you can apply for residency and live forever, but not work.

You realise the big costs of certain things - its not a cheap place to live unless you live entirely on local foods, dont buy a car, use much power etc etc.

unlike the uk or europe, if you have residency - if you do get into trouble, they will throw you out of the country rapidly.

Last edited by uk_grenada; Mar 7th 2019 at 1:17 pm. Reason: Addition
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 11:05 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Hi

Sorry, I’ve just seen your last reply!

From the OECS rules I’ve read, is says I can live and work(which has been confirmed), it’s my husband and son I’m still not sure about and nobody seems to be able to confirm 😩

Thanks for the warning about expenses! We are hoping to live reasonably local, food etc. I’m still looking at costs to bring our furniture, electrical and possibly car with us. Another issue is finding a trustworthy shipping company to get quotes from..

Thanks gain for your help!
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 11:24 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Shippings pretty easy, the biggest is JP Ram in the uk, they ship to all the eastern caribbean, i hve used them from barrels to containers, probably not the cheapest but reliable. There are maybe 2-3 others who i hear about but Ram do commercial work so there are multiple containers of theirs per vessel.

Think carefully about what you take vs what you buy locally. Here, furniture is cheaper and more importantly its suitable for the climate. Chipboard and particle board dies in the humidity and is ant food. EG i took a photo of an ikea tv unit to a carpenter. In ikea the chipboard one was 250 pounds. It was made to my required size from solid teak. It cost 300 pounds which is a bargain.

Acacia furniture and their outdoor plastic furniture from ikea however is ok. Is st lucia 220 volts? If so take electrical stuff but again nothing cheap. Samsung rules here, of course fridges have to be T rated. Do you get a concession on duty? If not buying locally may save you money. Cars - you have to know who will service it up front and that they have spare parts or your car will be spending a lot of time by the roadside. Windscreens for example - you cant ship one, but youll break it one day. Best to go with a car that is sold locally via a big dealer and know they will service a car they didnt supply - many wont. You may also find its cheaper to buy locally - check.
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Old Sep 12th 2019, 8:21 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia, OECS rules and any advice?

Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
Shippings pretty easy, the biggest is JP Ram in the uk, they ship to all the eastern caribbean, i hve used them from barrels to containers, probably not the cheapest but reliable. There are maybe 2-3 others who i hear about but Ram do commercial work so there are multiple containers of theirs per vessel.

Think carefully about what you take vs what you buy locally. Here, furniture is cheaper and more importantly its suitable for the climate. Chipboard and particle board dies in the humidity and is ant food. EG i took a photo of an ikea tv unit to a carpenter. In ikea the chipboard one was 250 pounds. It was made to my required size from solid teak. It cost 300 pounds which is a bargain.

Acacia furniture and their outdoor plastic furniture from ikea however is ok. Is st lucia 220 volts? If so take electrical stuff but again nothing cheap. Samsung rules here, of course fridges have to be T rated. Do you get a concession on duty? If not buying locally may save you money. Cars - you have to know who will service it up front and that they have spare parts or your car will be spending a lot of time by the roadside. Windscreens for example - you cant ship one, but youll break it one day. Best to go with a car that is sold locally via a big dealer and know they will service a car they didnt supply - many wont. You may also find its cheaper to buy locally - check.
Thanks UK_Grenada!
Again, apologies for only just seeing your reply! All very good advice.
We have downsized our belongings to almost nothing in preparation of our move.
No concessions on duty it seems, as I have Vincentian citizenship, not St Lucian. And after researching bring our car, that’s totally out due to taxes.
We’re coming over with the intention of renting a property for 6/12 months, until we can settle.
My husband is a skilled fabricator/welder and I will be looking for work in sustainability/conservation(although I’ve been considering building a info website for the Caribbean islands due the difficulty I’ve had finding info online! 😂).
There’s a lot to consider but we’re hopeful we can live our dream and bring much to the island too 😊
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