Whilst moving to a new country can be stressful and it may take you some time to get used to the island way of life, the good news is that Cayman is well set up to support the arrival of expatriates. Both companies hiring and companies providing moving/real estate services are adept at supporting new employees. The first questions to ask your Affinity Recruitment consultant is how will your new company support your move? Is there a relocation package? Can you get a short-term let organised through the company? The answers vary but often, especially in the financial services industry, there will be significant moving support. The fantastic thing about moving to Cayman is that 50% of your work colleagues have also moved and can share their experiences, and the other half provide amazing insight into their island, the culture and the best places to eat, dance, relax!
The Cayman Islands, although a UK Overseas Territory, is its own country with its own culture and way of life. Cayman lacks the usual hustle and bustle of major cities and you will find many friendly faces to help make your transition stress-free. There are some cultural differences, you will drive on the left, learn to use roundabouts, negotiate the local dialect and quickly learn about the relationship between Cayman and Jamaica. The opportunities in Cayman are endless and the biggest hurdle by far is getting the job and organising the move. The best piece of advice Affinity can give you is be patient, get organised and ask lots of questions to pave the smoothest path to your life in the Caribbean.
- Before travel ensure you have evidence of any professional memberships, and copies of your employment contract, university/college degree and immigration documentation.
- Obtain references and copies of your bank statements from your bank and any records with credit companies. This will make it easier to open a bank account in the Cayman Islands.
- Obtain a letter from your auto insurance carrier stating your no claim record, as this will help with securing a more economical rate with an on-island auto insurance carrier should you wish to purchase a vehicle.
- Bring your driver’s license
- Employees do not incur income tax in the Cayman Islands; however, prior to your departure it’s advisable to research the tax implications of moving to the Cayman Islands within your home country.
- GSM mobiles work in the Cayman Islands. You can choose to either have them unlocked before your departure or this can be done on island for a fee ranging between CI$25 -CI$75.
- There are several telecommunication companies in the Cayman Islands, which offers a wide range of mobile, landline and internet services.
- Most banks are open Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4pm and Friday to 4:30pm. Some branches are open for a short period on Saturday. You will need a letter from your employer and a copy of your permit to open an account.
- Businesses and retail stores are closed on Sunday, with the exception of bars, restaurants, and some shops that cater for the tourist market.
- The healthcare system in the Cayman Islands is a good standard. If you are on medication, get a bumper prescription from your doctor in your home country before you move, to give yourself time to settle in without the pressure of finding a new doctor.
- Health insurance is a legal requirement, so ensure you discuss what this entails with your new employer. You will make contributions as well as your employer.
- You will be required to pay into a pension and your employer will also pay into the scheme. There are quite strict pension laws so make sure you understand what this entails during your contract negotiation.
- You can move items from home to Cayman without paying import tax, as long as it’s done in the first six months of your arrival on island. Many homes come fully furnished, but some people prefer to bring in their own household items or personal items that don’t fit into your airplane cargo. Shipping options include air and sea – sea being much more cost effective for bulky items.
- Many food items are readily available in Cayman, the supermarkets/grocery stores are particularly well stocked with products from around the world but if you have a particular penchant or dietary need, then consider bringing supplies with you (as long as they can be brought in), just until you can establish where you can buy your favourite foods etc.