REMOVING BORDERS: CSME AND THE EPA

WHAT IS THE CSME?

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy, better known as CSME, was established through the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, along with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The CSME is an attempt to deepen the integration movement, by creating a single economic space with limited cross- border restrictions to allow for the free movement of goods, services, skilled-labour and capital.

Check out the CSME Online Website at: http://csmeonline.org/news/regimes/movement-of-people for more information.

WHAT COUNTRIES ARE PART OF CSME?

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Jamaica
  • Barbados
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Belize
  • St. Lucia
  • Dominica
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Grenada
  • Suriname
  • Guyana
  • Trinidad and Tobago

WHAT ARE THE KEY PROVISIONS UNDER THE CSME?

  • The free movement of skills/labour
  • The free movement of goods
  • The free movement of capital
  • The provision of services
  • The right to establish businesses

WHO IS ENTITLED TO WORK FREELY?

Under the free movement of skills regime, persons seeking to work in member countries are required to obtain a CARICOM Skills Certificate. Any category of workers who do not fall under these broad groupings below, are expected to obtain a work permit for the country which they are entering.

  • University Graduates
  • Artistes
  • Musicians
  • Sportspersons
  • Media Workers
  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Associate Degree Graduates
  • Domestics and Artisans

COMPETENT AUTHORITIES

WHAT ARE THE COMPENTENT AUTHORITIES IN EACH COUNTRY?

  • The free movement of skills/labour across CARICOM is one of the provisions set forth under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. It allows nationals to engage in gainful employment across the region without the need to obtain a work permit in the receiving country.
  • Persons who have obtained a CARICOM Skills Certificate from their home country, and have gained entry into another member state, must have their information reviewed and approved by the Competent Authority in the host country by submitting the relevant documentation to solidify this process. Once granted, the relevant stamps/signatures would be issued.

Antigua
Ministry of Labour, Public Administration and Empowerment
Nevis Street and Friendly Alley,
St. Johns,
Antigua.
Tel: (268) 462-3331
Email: labour@mail.ab.gov.ag

Antigua
Ministry of Labour, Public Administration and Empowerment
Nevis Street and Friendly Alley,
St. Johns,
Antigua.
Tel: (268) 462-3331
Email: labour@mail.ab.gov.ag

Barbados
Barbados Accreditation Council
Roebuck Street,
Bridgetown,
Barbados.
Tel: (246) 436-9094
Email: info@bac.gov.bb

Belize
Ministry of National Security
Curl Thompson Building,
Belmopan City,
Belize.
Tel: (501) 822-2231
Email: minofnatsec@mns.gov.bz

Dominica
Ministry of National Security, Immigration and Labour
6th Floor Financial Centre,
Kennedy,
Roseau,
Dominica.
Tel: (767) 266-5189
Email: dompol@cwdom.dm

Guyana
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
254 Takuba Lodge,
South Road and New Garden Street,
Georgetown,
Guyana.
Tel: (592) 226-1600
Email: minfor@guyana.net.gy

Guyana
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
254 Takuba Lodge,
South Road and New Garden Street,
Georgetown,
Guyana.
Tel: (592) 226-1600
Email: minfor@guyana.net.gy

Jamaica
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
1F North Street,
Kingston,
Jamaica.
Tel: (876) 922-9500

St. Kitts and Nevis
Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Commerce
Church Street,
Basseterre,
St. Kitts and Nevis.
Tel: (869) 465-2521
Email: foreigntrade@gov.kn

St. Lucia
Ministry of Trade, Industry, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Investment
Heraldine Rock Building,
4th Floor The Waterfront,
Castries,
St. Lucia.
Tel: (758) 468-4203
Email: pscommerce@candw.lc

St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Ministry of National Security
Administrative Building,
Bay Street,
Kingstown,
St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Tel: (784) 450-0364
Email: pmosvg@caribsurf.com

Suriname
Ministry of Labour, Technological Development and Environment
Wagenwegstraat 22,
Paramaribo,
Suriname.
Tel: (597) 476-540
Email: atm@atm.sr.org

Trinidad and Tobago
Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs
Levels 10-14 Tower C,
Waterfront Complex,
1A Wrightson Road,
Port-of-Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago.
Tel: (868) 623-6894
Email: website@foreign.gov.tt

WHAT IS A CVQ?
The Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) was officially launched in October 2007.The CVQ now facilitates the movement of artisans and other skilled persons in the CSME. This qualification will be accessible to persons already in the workforce as well as students in secondary schools across the Caribbean region.

HOW TO OBTAIN A CVQ IN YOUR COUNTRY?
A CARICOM national who wishes to seek work in another Member state as a wage earner must apply for and obtain a CARICOM Certificate of Recognition of Skills Qualification from the designated Minister in either his/her home country or from the host country.
The procedure to obtain a Skills Certificate is detailed in the domestic laws of Member States, which were enacted with the specific purpose of implementing the Free Movement of Skills. These laws are generally known as the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Acts.
In order to receive applications of CARICOM Nationals for free movement or to execute verifications, the Competent Authority must assign a Desk with the responsibility to administer the applications and supporting documents from interested CARICOM Nationals. The Desk will also be responsible for the submission every quarter of statistical information to the CSME Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat.
Applications should be sent/submitted to the Free Movement of Skills Department in the Ministry of Government with responsibility for issuing the Skills Certificate.

WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS?
In order to facilitate the application for Free Movement of Skills, the applicable categories of persons will have to produce the following information.

  • A University Degree, which should be at minimum a Bachelor’s Degree
  •  Letter from the respective Ministry which states that the applicant is registered in the particular field.
  • Copies of relevant qualifications in the field. Copies of a CVQ or an Associate Degree
  • Letters from previous employers which clearly states the functions the applicant were performing

Other documents include:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of the bio data page of his/her passport
  • Marriage Certificate (where applicable)
  • Passport sized photos
  • Police Certificate of Character

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The Free Movement of Skilled Persons, arises from an agreed CARICOM policy that was originally separate but related to the original Protocol II of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. The agreed policy, called The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Free Movement of Persons Act, is now enacted legislation in all the CSME Member States. It provides for the free movement of certain categories of skilled labour. Under this legislation, persons within these categories can qualify for Skills Certificates (which allow for the free movement across the region).

ESTABLISHING A BUSINESS WITHIN CARICOM
Under the CSME Right of Establishment Regime, you can now register and set up a business in any CSME Country as a CARICOM National with proof of start-up funds.
Check out the CSME Online Website at: http://csmeonline.org/news/regimes/right-of-establishment for more information.

RIGHTS OF ESTABLISHMENT
CARICOM Nationals have the right to work as self-employed persons in the CSME and thus can move to another Member State to establish a business. This is generally referred to as the Right of Establishment, which includes the following rights:

  • To engage in any non-wage-earning activities of a commercial, industrial, professional or artisanal nature; and
  • To create and manage economic enterprises, which includes any type of organization for the production of, or trade in goods, or the provision of services owned or controlled by a national of a Member State.
  • Companies have the right to bring in managerial, supervisory and technical staff in order to further their business.

ENTRY TO A HOST COUNTRY
CARICOM Nationals who wish to move from one CARICOM Member State to another in order to establish a business will have to provide the following:

  • Valid Passport
  • Return Ticket
  • Proof of financial resources for personal maintenance, such as credit cards, travelers cheques, cash or a combination thereof.

AFTER ENTRY
Each Member State must designate a Competent Authority for the Right of Establishment. After entry has been granted the CARICOM National must submit to the Competent Authority, relevant proof of legitimacy, such as:

  • Police Certificate of Character
  • Financial Resources
  • Incorporation Documents/Business Name(s) Certificate

REFUSAL OF ENTRY
A Member State can refuse a qualified CARICOM National entry into its territory if there are sufficient grounds to believe that the CARICOM National will pose a threat to public order, health or security.