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CARICOM Skilled National Certificate Holders Exempted from Work Permits

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - The Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation says since commencing the issuance of the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Certificate in June 2004, a total of 16 certificates have been issued to date.

The Ministry is also reporting that so far, seven St. Lucians have been granted the certificate whilst a total of nine non-nationals originating from Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica have been granted the certificate to work in Saint. Lucia.

In an interview with the Government Information Service, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation Senator Honourable Petrus Compton, said the statistics should serve to dispel the concerns of workers who view the procedure as an avenue for non-nationals to strip St. Lucians of their jobs.

“In the case of Saint Lucia and in all the islands indeed, we have had to pass legislation to give effect to the regime, and in Saint. Lucia we have passed the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Act which gives effect to this regime”.

Minister Compton says non-nationals who are in possession of the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Certificate will not be required to present work permits to authorities. Those persons are accorded the same treatment as nationals however non-nationals who do not hold the certificate are required to comply with the Work Permit Act of St. Lucia.

The professionals who now hold the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Certificate include Attorneys, Lecturers, Computer Analysts and Teachers.

Movements of skilled CARICOM nationals are divided into wage-earners and non-wage earners. Non-wage earners and managerial, technical and supervisory persons are covered under the programme for Free Movement of Capital and Rights of Establishment.

In respect of wage-earners, implementation of the provisions have been achieved through the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Bill or appropriate amendment to the Immigration Act of respective participating members to remove restrictions, relating to work permits and residency.

Except for Montserrat, all Member States of CARICOM have enacted legislation to give effect to the Free Movement of Skilled CARICOM Nationals which comprise the following groups - university graduates and specialised occupations namely, Musicians, Artistes, Sport persons and Media Workers.


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