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Thread: Transferring a business & residence

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  1. #1
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    Transferring a business & residence

    Hello,

    I'm a Commonwealth citizen (UK) and successfully self-employed; my business is entirely location-independent and I'm looking into moving to Kingston in 2017. (I've spent time there, have friends there and am certain.)

    I have read through various immigration websites and the thread about starting a business in Jamaica on this forum (and contacted PICA, but still waiting for a response), and I'm wondering how to go about moving an existing business to Jamaica and obtaining residency. In the UK, I am registered as self-employed/a sole trader, but I suspect I would have to found an actual company in Jamaica -- or is there a similar tax status for freelancers available as there is in the UK? I know that self-employment work permits are available, but it seems that they only cover a short period of time and do not entail residency. Is this correct?

    Since my clients are all based abroad, I wouldn't be taking any local job and paying a decent amount of taxes, so I hope there won't be too many issues. For the time being, I'll be over on a tourist visa for half a year from February, and I'm hoping to get the process started during that period. What should my first steps be? Does anyone know an immigration lawyer (ideally in Kingston or Mobay) I could contact?

    Any help will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    Jellyfish,

    Welcome to the Board. I founded and registered Negril.com back in the 1990's so I have a little experience in this area. You really dont need an immigration attorney as it sounds like you have a good take on things.

    Being a member of the Commonwealth makes it a bit easier. In February, you will first need to register your company and get a TRN for you and the company. Then you can apply for a self employed work permit with all the necessary forms. You will need to apply for three years before you can apply for residency with work privileges.

    That being said, to be granted a permit, it matters what your business does and what you "bring to the table". Unemployment is rather high here, so if you are not hiring anyone that is a negative. You say your clients are based abroad, so although you wouldnt be taking away a job, you are also not servicing any businesses/people here. This seems like another negative. If your business makes alot of money and you are paying the income taxes here, that is definitely a plus.

    Good luck! Kingston is a fun city.
    Negril.com - For the vacation that never ends!

  3. #3
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks a lot for your response! I'm a self-employed translator working between German, English and Japanese, so I might be able to put a "local spin" on my motivation letter, so to speak, given that Jamaica is fortunately Anglophone (of course, I'd love to have some Jamaican clients, but currently don't.) Whether or not I will expand to a point where I can employ people and essentially run an agency in the near future, I do not know, though it's a possibility and, to some extent, an aspiration. For a self-employed language service provider, my income is very decent, but probably not high enough to wow them on income tax grounds alone...

    What is the first point of contact for registering a company? And would I need a physical business or residential address in Jamaica before starting the entire process?

  4. #4
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    JF,

    First, get your personal TRN. That can be done at any tax office. Then head to the Registrar of Companies. Being a translator is definite plus! And being a translator, they wont be so concerned about a physical business office since you can be working from home without people coming there. You will need some form of address to apply for all documents including the TRN.
    Negril.com - For the vacation that never ends!

  5. #5
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    Fabulous, thanks a lot -- that's very encouraging. If I can just state the address of the flat I'm renting, rather than a dedicated brick-and-mortar business address, that makes things quite easy. I suppose being a one-woman business does help in that respect. I'll share updates on the process here, just in case someone else is looking to embark on a similar process.

    EDIT: One more question. The PICA website says I'll need two character references from Jamaican citizens; is there a requirement that these people are currently resident in Jamaica and have known me for x number of years (which might be slightly tricky)?
    Last edited by jellyfish; 11-14-2016 at 07:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    Yes, the character references are important. They will need to be residents here who know you and will vouch for you.
    Negril.com - For the vacation that never ends!

  7. #7
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    Re: Transferring a business & residence

    All right. I'm sure I'll work it out. Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Yes, the character references are important. They will need to be residents here who know you and will vouch for you.

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