More categories of persons poised to work freely in CARICOM countries

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 July 2022, 23:07 by Denis Chabrol

Leaders of Guyana and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state have fine-tuned arrangements for farmers, security personnel and domestic workers to be added to the list of persons who would be allowed to move and work freely across the Single Market, CARICOM Chairman Chandrikapersad Santokhi said Tuesday.

The Surinamese President announced that the decisions were taken at the CARICOM Summit held on July 4 to 5, 2022 in Suriname. “We decided, we took action for all the people who are looking for opportunities in sister nations…We have removed all the barriers, they can have free movement and they can find labour in our sister nations,” he said.

CARICOM Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett explained that regional leaders decided that the definitions of categories of labour are in keeping with the requirements of the International Labour Organisation. With the adding of more categories to those eligible for Skilled Nationals Certification, she said individual member states might need to amend their laws. “For most of the countries, there isn’t really any need to amend the laws. It’s really one or two that need to do that and we will begin that process of working with the countries to make sure that those definitions that we agree are in fact incorporated into the local laws,” she added.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said a previous decision to add farmers, security personnel and domestic workers to the list of persons eligible for free movement under CARICOM’s Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has now been firmed up. “The definitional work and the details were not put in place, Those  have now been put in place,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said in the absence of a free movement regime governing farmers, member states could enter into bilateral agreements similar to accords that allow them to work on farms in Europe.

Holders of Skilled Nationals Certificates are allowed to live and work freely across the Single Market without requiring work permits. They include university graduates, media workers, sports persons, musicians, artists, managers, supervisors and other service providers.