Economic and political changes in Palau in the last two decades have led to a rapid increase in the numbers of foreign workers. At current levels of growth, Palauans could become a minority in their own country. We examine the global processes that have produced this phenomenon and discuss their social and cultural impacts on Palau. In doing so we examine ways the meanings of work in Palau are understood, and how these are changing. We conclude that a new distinctly Palauan system of occupations is emerging that is neither traditional nor purely western and that is widely shared between Palauans and non-Palauans.