CEO lauds new work permit rules; says CSME “one step closer”

SAINT JOHN’S, 2 January, 2023 — The CEO of a regional recruitment firm is lauding the government of Antigua for removing the work permit requirement for workers from CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic, suggesting that it brings the region “one step closer” to achieving what the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) set out to achieve.

“This is amazing news for workers in the region,” said Joseph Boll, Caribbean Employment Services Inc. CEO. “There has long — perhaps too long — been talk about regional integration and free movement of skilled workers. By allowing a system whereby this is possible, businesses can benefit from a more talented pool of workers, workers will have access to better job opportunities and CARICOM Member States can better achieve a regional economic ecosystem for growth.”

Caribbean Employment Services Inc. is a market-leading digital talent acquisition service that aims to connect the top talent from the Caribbean with hiring managers, HR professionals and decision-makers in companies both within the Caribbean as well as abroad. Further, it aims to provide the region’s jobseekers and those who are already employed with news and resources related to Caribbean labour.

Boll’s comments come as the government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that it will no longer require workers from CARICOM Member States or the Dominican Republic to have work permits to be gainfully employed in the nation. The government also noted that it has already waived the work permit requirement for workers from Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Member States. Even further, the government is waiving any work permit fees that were due from applicable workers up to December 31, 2022.

Some sectors of society have criticized the move, suggesting that the government took the idea from the Official Opposition, which had only just days prior made public its proposal for a similar initiative. However, Boll said regardless of the politics, the new policy is a major win for Caribbean workers and businesses alike.

“While CSME remains in a seemingly stalled phase, for now, we hope more CARICOM Member States will consider adopting similar policies,” said Boll. “This has tremendous potential, especially in a time of remote work where workers, if granted the permission, can work for one Caribbean country while still residing in their own home town, thereby contributing to the success of a regional ecosystem that will help improve resilience for the region as a whole.”

OECS Member States include Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

CARICOM Member States include Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.


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