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Working in Havana

Find out how to get a job and work in Havana

Are you an expat seeking for job opportunities in Havana, Cuba? Job positions in Havana are sometimes difficult to find due to its laws and not very developed economy. So get prepared with info on the local economy and work permits, as well as job hunting tips.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Employment in Havana

Local Economy

A lot of Havana’s income nowadays is derived from tourism. In the past it has had a very varied economy, with the main sectors being manufacturing, construction and transportation. The economy of the country is built on the traditional sugar industry and a great deal of the country’s sugar exports come through the port of Havana. Most businesses in Havana have been nationalized during the revolution, and are under state control today. The city of Havana contains most of the country’s wealth, and because of this, does not suffer from the same level of poverty that other parts of Cuba have experienced. 

Job Hunting in Havana

Expatriate jobs in Havana are few and far between. At least some knowledge of the Spanish language is essential before you make the move out there. As there are not many foreigners living and working in Havana, there is not the same expatriate community that other capital cities have, and no expatriate bars or clubs.

Many people who move to Havana for work are journalists or freelance writers. For US citizens, for instance, this is the only way to move to Cuba according to US law. It is rare for foreigners to find jobs in the tourism industry in Havana, as these jobs are very much sought after by Cuban citizens. If you do find work with an international company, then it is important to negotiate a proper salary and to make sure the employer will help you find accommodation. Employers are obliged to pay salaries in line with Cuban standards, so foreigners working in Havana often have to return home when they eventually run out of money. If you are considering applying for a job with a Cuban company, the odds will be stacked against you. If a Cuban citizen can do the job, then they will always get priority over a foreigner.

Work Permits for Havana

If you are entering the country as a freelance writer or a journalist have to apply for a work permit with the Ministry of Work and Social Security. You will need to have already secured work in Havana before applying for a work permit, as your employer has to sponsor your application. It is possible to enter Havana as a student, and stay on a student visa, but be aware that attendance at classes is mandatory, and missing classes could result in your visa being revoked.

Cuba operates a progressive tax system, with residents paying between 15% and 50% tax depending on their level of income. Tax is often deducted at source by your employer, although, in some cases, you may have to fill in a tax return to ensure that you are really paying the full amount.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: December 06, 2018
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