West Indians who wish to return home after a lifetime of work in the UK need to resist knee jerk reactions to retirement. Planning is the key to returing home. Returnees need to bear in mind some important aspects to help retirement back home to be a success
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Copyright 2006 Nicholas Marr
During the late 1950s and through the 1960s the UK positively encouraged West Indians under their wings to find fortunes in the UK. England at this time was short of labour and needed workers to fill the more menial posts. West Indians travelled in their droves in ships landing at the docks to a new life in the cold and the rain. These workers settled ,buying houses, having children and building up pensions.Many always thought of moving back home one day. This dream of returning home is a calling from the heart. Why should they stay when after all the work is done? Their children are grown and have lives for themselves. Many have bought property and now have substantial sums of money as a base to move back home. Just think what a person could buy in Jamaica for the price of a London home for example.
Think twice the dream may not come true
Having paid taxes and contributed to the economy many West Indian retirees have reasonable pensions. This income will mean even more in the Caribbean and returnees are set for comfortable retirements back home. But serious thought needs to be given to a move back home. Returning home to the Caribbean should not be a knee jerk action even though this was the master plan. Many returnees have not visited home for many years. The memory of home may be viewed with rose coloured glasess. Home may not be how they remember. Many friends may not be there. A returnees culture may now not be the culture of back home. Living in country for most of your life will change a person and those returning home may not be as happy with life as they thought.
Retiring to home the biggest consideration
As we get older our health becomes even more of an issue. Health care on some islands in the Caribbean is below the standard that many West Indians living in Europe have become used to. Paying for your health care is probably the best alternative but this often has a high price. Some insurance companies will happily take your money for healthcare. But if you have suffered an illness in the past they may well opt you out if a similar problem arises in the future. So care and understanding needs to be applied to this issue. If you became ill whilst back home and thought you will return back to the UK for example think again. Some illnesses may not allow you to fly and without a permanent address in the UK you may have lost your entitlement for free care.
Many Caribbean Islands want returnees.
Caribbean governments have seen the benefit of their countryman returning back to the warm shores of the Cribbean. They bring foreign money with them and will act to help the economy.
Returing home to Jamaica
In recognition of the need to facilitate the relocation and resettlement of those Jamaicans who return home to retire, invest, work or share experiences and expertise gained abroad, the Government of Jamaica has instituted a number of procedures aimed at simplifying the process. The Returning Residents Facilitation Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston was established to provide guidance on import regulations and immigration procedures to Jamaicans who wish to relocate to Jamaica. The primary mission of the Returning Residents Facilitation Unit is the effective administration of the Returning Residents Programme through the establishment of an environment conducive to the return and reintegration of Jamaicans overseas and the provision of related services. The Facilitation Unit also liaises closely with the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies:
Don?t burn your bridges
It is good advice for those considering returning home not to just sell everything and go. Careful planning which leaves a home that can be rented is the best way to return home. This can be achieved by downsizing. Selling a large family home and buying an apartment for example has many benefits . It would release cash to buy a property back home. It would also allow the purchase of a home that could be let. This would provide further income and as place to come back to if all goes wrong .
Returing home is set to be a happy time for those who have worked to gain financial independance. Preparation and having a contingency plan is the key to future security for those retiring back home.