JIS News

As the region readies itself for greater integration under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), member states are busily laying the groundwork for free movement of skills/labour and services.
Currently, not all members of the workforce fall into the qualified categories for free movement, but eventually they will.
“The goal is that every member of the workforce will be able to move freely from one CARICOM member state to another. But it is a sequence of events and it was easier to start with University graduates, artistes, musicians, sportspersons and media workers because they were already moving ‘freely’,” Mr. Robert Miller, Head of the CSME Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade informed JIS News in an interview.
Mr. Miller explained that over time, more categories would be added to the list of those qualified for free labour movement.
Tracing Jamaica’s implementation process, he pointed out that before the 2004 Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) (Amendment) Act, which is an amendment of the 1997 CARICOM Free Movement of Skilled Persons Act, only five categories of CARICOM nationals were qualified for free movement under the CSME.
“Prior to the 2004 amendment to the 1997 Act, five categories of CARICOM nationals and their dependents were entitled to offer services in Jamaica without needing work permits. These were, university graduates, media workers, sportspersons, artistes and musicians,” said Mr. Miller.
Therefore, with the 2004 amendment came the inclusion of self employed service providers, entrepreneurs, technical, managerial and supervisory staff and their immediate dependents, bringing the number of categories to six.
“The CSME is for all of us. The doctor, the engineer, the carpenter, the mason, the secretary, the plumber.and the self employed service provider for example, will have the right to establish businesses or provide a service wherever they choose in the region,” Mr. Miller said.

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