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Jamaica – Self-Employment

Jamaica is an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea, known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant music scene, and rich culture. For expats looking to start their own business, Jamaica can be an appealing option with a growing economy and a government that is actively working to encourage entrepreneurship. In this article, we’ll take a look at how self-employment works for expats in Jamaica, how to register as self-employed, whether you can work as a digital nomad, how to start a company, and if there are any incentives or programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or start a company in Jamaica.

Self-Employment for Expats in Jamaica

Expats who wish to work in Jamaica have several options, one of which is to become self-employed. Self-employment allows you to work for yourself and manage your own business without being an employee of another company.

As a self-employed person in Jamaica, you will be responsible for paying your own taxes and making contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). You may also need to apply for a work permit or visa depending on your nationality and the length of your stay in Jamaica.

Registering as Self-Employed in Jamaica

To register as self-employed in Jamaica, expats need to follow a few steps:

  1. Obtain a TRN: The first step is to obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) from the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ). This is a unique identification number that is required for all taxpayers in Jamaica. You can apply for a TRN online or in person at a TAJ office.

  2. Register with NIS: Once you have your TRN, you need to register with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). This is a mandatory social security program that provides benefits to contributors, including pension, disability, and survivor benefits.

  3. Register with the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ): If you plan to operate as a sole trader, you need to register with the COJ. This can be done online or in person at a COJ office.

  4. Register for GCT: If your business will be selling goods and services, you may need to register for General Consumption Tax (GCT). This is a value-added tax that is levied on the consumption of goods and services in Jamaica.

Working as a Digital Nomad in Jamaica

Jamaica is a popular destination for digital nomads due to its warm climate, beautiful scenery, and affordable cost of living. However, it is important to note that Jamaica’s digital infrastructure is not as developed as some other countries, which may make remote work more challenging.

To work as a digital nomad in Jamaica, you will need to ensure that you have a stable internet connection and access to coworking spaces or other work-friendly environments. You may also need to apply for a work permit or visa depending on your nationality and the length of your stay.


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Starting a Company in Jamaica

Expats who wish to start a company in Jamaica have several options, including registering as a sole trader or setting up a limited liability company (LLC).

To start a company in Jamaica, expats need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose a business name: The first step is to choose a name for your company that is not already in use. You can check the availability of business names online or in person at a COJ office.

  2. Register your company: Once you have chosen a name, you need to register your company with the COJ. This can be done online or in person at a COJ office.

  3. Obtain a TRN: You will also need to obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number

    Are there any incentives or programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Jamaica?

    Yes, there are several incentives and programs in place to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Jamaica. Here are some of them:

    • Tax incentives: Jamaica offers tax incentives for investors and businesses in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. These incentives include tax holidays, duty-free imports of machinery and equipment, and other tax concessions.

    • Start-up Jamaica: This is a government-funded accelerator program designed to support the growth and development of technology start-ups in Jamaica. The program provides funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities to help start-ups get off the ground and succeed.

    • Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC): The JBDC is a government agency that provides business development services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Jamaica. The agency offers training, mentorship, and advisory services to help SMEs grow and expand.

    • Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE): The JSE provides a platform for companies to raise capital through the issuance of shares. This can be an attractive option for expats looking to start a company in Jamaica, as it provides access to a pool of investors who are interested in supporting local businesses.

    • Entrepreneurship competitions: Jamaica hosts several entrepreneurship competitions throughout the year, such as the National Business Model Competition and the Jamaica Venture Capital Conference. These competitions provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas, network with potential investors, and access funding and mentorship opportunities.

    In conclusion, expats looking to become self-employed or start a company in Jamaica can take advantage of several incentives and programs, including tax incentives, accelerator programs, business development services, and entrepreneurship competitions. These resources can help expats navigate the process of starting a business in Jamaica and increase their chances of success.


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