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A look back at Barbados' history gives a sense of what makes the island tick. The Portuguese were the first Europeans in Barbados' history to explore there, drifting ashore the coral and limestone mountain peak in search of fresh water in 1536. They did not stay for long, but left the island with the name that would stick throughout the rest of Barbados' history - the roots of fig trees native to the island reminded them of beards; Barbados is Portuguese for "the bearded ones".
A new period in Barbados history began with the first permanent settlement almost a century later, when the British established the city of Holetown on the island's western coast in 1627. From then on, Barbados' history as a British colony continued virtually uninterrupted, with the island becoming an important trading port reliant mainly on sugar exports to survive. Sugar cane dominated the economy throughout Barbados' history until a few years after it achieved independence from Britain in 1966, when airline travel increased allowing tourism to grow exponentially.
Today's Bajans, most of whom descend directly from either former plantation owners or their laborers brought to Barbados during the 16th and 17th centuries, are intensely proud of Barbados' history and the nation it has produced. Though tourism is Barbados' most important industry, Bajans have worked hard to build upon the infrastructure left by the British period of Barbados history to diversify and strengthen their business community. British customs and traditions remain strong here - afternoon tea and cricket are national institutions - but Barbados' history has also evolved an independent nation whose standard of living rivals any in the West Indies.
There should be plenty of things to do on your Barbados vacation, so read up in advance and try to schedule in a few of the following suggestions:
During their Barbados vacations, most visitors usually spend at least a little time at some of the island's fabulous beaches. All of the beaches on Barbados are open to the public, though east coast beaches tend to be less popular with foreigners on Barbados vacations because water conditions there are less predictable than in the south and west. Southern beaches, like Carlisle Bay and Silver Sands, usually attract younger crowds; the island's west or "Platinum" coast is where a more upscale group spends their Barbados vacations, making beaches in this area, like Mullins and Paynes Bay, less crowded though no less beautiful.
Barbados vacations are also ideal for more dynamic ventures like hiking. The Barbados National Trust maintains both challenging and leisurely trails through the island's hills - an excellent way of exploring the country's sites and keeping active during your Barbados vacation. There should also be no trouble satisfying an appetite for culture during your Barbados vacation; art galleries can be found throughout Bridgetown's parish of St. Michael; the Barbados Jazz Festival in January and Holder's Opera Season in March are world-renowned and should liven up any Barbados vacation.
Getting a Caribbean job is not much different on most islands, including Barbados.
Permanent resident status and immigrant status may be useful methods of entry into the Island to gain Barbados employment. Such methods are, however, generally pursued by those seeking to create more permanent ties to the Island outside of work itself.
Permanent resident status may be acquired upon application in the prescribed form by a permitted entrant who had previously been accorded the status of an immigrant by the Minister and has since resided in Barbados for a period of not less than 5 years or is the spouse of a person who is a citizen of Barbados whether by descent or birth.
Immigrant status is more flexible and may be acquired by any interested person who satisfies the Minister that "by reason of his education, occupational qualifications, personal history, employment record, training, skills or other special qualifications has established himself successfully in Barbados in a profession, trade, business or agricultural enterprise" or by virtue of which is not only likely to excel in these areas but has sufficient means to maintain himself and his dependants in Barbados in the interim.
The more usual course is to apply for a work permit. There are no limitations on the persons who may apply for a Barbados job work permit, but it is understood that immigration policy requires persons offering some skill or expertise which supplements the domestic job market. Application for a work permit must be in the prescribed Form C1. Where the application is for a period not exceeding 6 months, Form C3 is appropriate. In the case where the applicant has been offered a job, the prospective employer must, in addition to the forms furnished by the proposed employee, supply the Department with the appropriate information in Form C2.
Formalities: The usual formalities of the age, sex, nationality and country of permanent residence of the applicant must be stated in Form C1. The applicant must also indicate his proposed address and where the applicant has been offered employment, the name and address of the prospective employer. Other pertinent information includes: the nature of the proposed occupation, the marital status of the applicant, and the identity of any dependants of the applicant who will be traveling with the applicant. An outline detailing the names and addresses of colleges, universities and educational institutions including trade and vocational institutions attended, the duration of the course of study, certificates and degrees received is also requested. Any additional qualifications, skills and proficiency in the use of tools, machines or other equipment, and a list of licenses relating to a profession, trade or other qualifications, should also be detailed.
An outline of the applicant's employment history, within three years prior to the application, must be documented including the duties involved, the hours of work, and a list of tools, machines and other equipment utilized in that capacity. Where this brief employment history does not include an occupation relating to the proposed area of employment for which the permit is being sought, any previous employment in a related area should be documented. If any sums are to be repatriated to persons overseas these persons should be listed on the application.
Less formal information is required in an application for a short-term work permit. The usual formalities regarding the date of birth, nationality and marital status are required. In addition, the details of any accompanying family members or dependants must be provided, along with academic history, work experience, the proposed date of entry into Barbados, and duration of stay. A resume outlining academic and work details is usually accepted as part of the Form.
Documentation: Documents must be lodged in support of any information supplied in the application forms. Such documents include photographs of the applicant, one of which must be a certified true photograph of the applicant, a police certificate of character (or affidavit of character where the first is not possible) preferably from the foreign employee's country of residence, two written character references and, in the case of an application for an extension, a Tax Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
Documentary evidence of the qualifications of the foreign employee is also required. As it is not always feasible to provide original documents, notarized copies are allowed. A photocopy may be provided with the original where the return of the original is urgently required. Documents which are not in the English language are to be translated. Translation services are offered locally and forwarded to the Immigration Department together with the certification of the Translator as to the accuracy of the translation and the competency of the translator. Affidavits or published materials are also acceptable evidence of the foreign employee's qualifications in the capacity deposed to. A medical certificate, preferably, though not exclusively, from a local medical practitioner, chest x-rays or results of chest x-rays if carried out locally, are also required.
Fees payable: A fee of BDS$100 is payable at the time of application. A receipt, under hand of the Accountant-General, evidencing payment of the same may be submitted. Annual fees are also payable in respect of work permits. The annual fees vary according to the nature of employment involved. Where the work permit is for a period exceeding one year, the sum is multiplied accordingly and is payable in advance.
Obligation of foreign employer: Where there has been a Barbados job offer to the foreign employee, the employer must also submit an application on his or her behalf. In addition to providing the name of the proposed employee, the employer must indicate the full name, telephone number, address or registered office and the address or location where the proposed foreign employee is expected to work in Barbados.
A brief description of the nature of the employer's business or activity, the capital formation of the company outlining its share capital, number of shares and the percentage of ownership held by citizens of Barbados, permanent residents, and other individuals is also required. If the applicant company is a subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign-based company, the name of the parent company should be indicated.
Information relating to the conditions of work for the employee is also solicited on the form. These queries include: the number of employees performing the same work as the foreign employee, the number of employees working with the foreign employee, the date from which the employment is to start, whether the proposed position is seasonal, and the number of positions to be filled by foreign labor pursuant to the company's application.
The Barbados job title must also be indicated as the Ministry is interested in verifying that the position in question is not unionized or the subject of an existing labor dispute. The proposed salary must be indicated, including any rates for overtime, commissions or otherwise, the job to be performed and the equipment to be utilized in the process. Further, the basic education, training and practical requirements for the position must be submitted in detail. The precise position of the foreign employee must be identified, including the supervisory position governing the proposed position of the foreign employee, the type and degree of any such supervision and, where the foreign employee holds a supervisory position, the number of persons to be supervised by the foreign employee.