Caribbean Community (Caricom) nationals allowed to live and work in Guyana as Skilled Nationals will now be allowed to bring their spouses and dependants to live and work indefinitely.
Foreign Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett on Thursday successfuly piloted an amendment to her country’s Caribbean Community Free Entry of Skilled Nationals Act to now allow for the spouse of a skilled national to work once verification of the Skilled Nationals Certificate issued to the principal beneficiary has been granted. “The amendments …allow the spouse the right to engage in gainful employment or other occupation without having to apply for a work permit once the certificate of the principal beneficiary is verified and indefinite duration is granted,” she told the National Assembly.
She further explained that with those amendments no restrictions would be placed on the spouse and dependants of the principal beneficiary in relation to their freedom of movement, including the freedom to leave and re-enter Guyana without further permission.
The law has been also amended to provide for a Caricom Skilled National to apply to the Minister to have his or her Certificate verified. She said that once the verification process finds that the Certificate complies with the requirements, the holder of the Certificate can apply to the Chief Immigration Officer to remain in Guyana for a period of indefinite duration.
At the same time, changes to the law approved on Thursday empower the Foreign Minister to to disregard a certificate notwithstanding its verification, if the holder is found to have been convicted of certain offences.
While holders of Caricom Skilled Nationals Certificates await as much as six months to have their certificates verified, they will now be allowed to work while that processs is underway. Usually, Caricom nationals are given six months to stay on entering Guyana. “Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the challenges we encounter from time to time, the Government of Guyana remains committed to the ideals of regionalism and its fundamental principles,” said Rodrigues-Birkett.
Guyana’s 1996 Caribbean Community (Free Entry of Skilled Nationals) Act. was amended in 2011 to allow for nine categories of skilled nationals: media workers, musicians, artistes, sports persons, teachers, registered nurses, persons holding associate degrees, artisans possessing a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) or an approved national vocational qualification and domestics who have obtained a CVQ.
The Foreign Minister forecast that Guyana would be attracting more Skilled Caricom Nationals as has been the case with Barbadians, Jamaicans and Belizeans in the aviation sector. “Guyana is a friendly country and we welcome our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean with open arms.
Today we are putting some additional legal mechanisms in place to ensure that their stay in Guyana will be worthwhile and enjoyable,” she said.
Guyanese judges, land surveyors, teachers, nurses, lawyers and security sector workers are among those who work across the Caribbean.