Antigua announces elimination of work permits for Caribbean nationals

Antigua announces elimination of work permits for Caribbean nationals

16th February 2023

The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has decided to eliminate the requirement for work permits for nationals of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries who are gainfully employed in Antigua and Barbuda, effective January 1 this year.

“The government has also decided that, in keeping with Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to the economic integration of the Caribbean region, the elimination of work permits for persons who are gainfully employed, will be extended to people from the Dominican Republic,” the government said in a statement.

The main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) says it “is gratified to see the Browne administration adopt another of the party’s plans, this time the removal of the work-permit requirement for nationals of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic”.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said his government made the decision consistent with its obligations under Articles 45 and 46, clauses 2 (iii) and 3 of the CARICOM Treaty.

The government said the decision to eliminate the work permits for CARICOM nationals follows an earlier decision to waive all unpaid work permit fees, which were due December 31, last year.

“This means that all nationals of CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic who are now in Antigua and Barbuda and are gainfully employed will not be required to pay for a work permit.

“These decisions are an acknowledgment of (i) the role that our Caribbean brothers and sisters have played, alongside native Antiguans and Barbudans, in the development of our country; and (ii) the need for labor as our economy expands,” it added.

But the UPP, which is challenging to replace the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) in the January 18 general election, maintains that it had through its “One Caribbean” policy, announced plans to remove work permit requirements for Caribbean nationals.

“Its adoption by the Labour Party Government is accepted by the UPP as validation of its political leader’s vision and ideas and proof that it is the UPP who is poised to take this country to an elevated level.”

By CMC News

Source - Caribbean National Weekly