Caricom and Dominican Republic nationals say they are excited about a promise made by the United Progressive Party (UPP) to introduce work-permit exemptions under its “One Caribbean” legislation, once it attains public office.
According to the Party, under the One Caribbean Act, which is expected to take effect from March 1, 2023, the new UPP Government will waive all work-permit fees for nationals who fall under both categories provided they had been working and living in Antigua and Barbuda on or before January 1, 2023.
The UPP says that work permits for nationals of Caricom and the Dominican Republic will be replaced by the “One Caribbean Employment Stamp,” which will be transferable from one employer to another in the same industry and same job class.
Harold Lovell, political leader of the UPP, says the OECS Economic Union has been effective in bringing citizens of the OECS together as one people and one community.
He notes that work permits are not required for OECS nationals working in the sub-region, thereby expanding opportunities for job creation and the growth of regional economies.
Therefore, he believes that by replacing work permits with the “One Caribbean Employment Stamp,” the legislation will afford similar opportunities to Caricom nationals and persons from the Dominican Republic.
In addition, Lovell says, Guyanese, Jamaicans and other Caricom nationals who have been living and working here peacefully before January 1 this year will no longer require a work permit.
This represents further advancement towards the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and regional integration, the political leader says.
The new legislation is part of the UPP’s “One Caribbean Vision” Programme, which provides a pathway to a more effective, reliable, and fairer immigration system that is easier to enforce, the Party says.