Spouses of Caricom Skilled Nationals can now work freely in Guyana

Spouses of Caricom Skilled Nationals can now work freely in Guyana

Thursday, 27 February 2014 –  Demerara Waves

Caribbean Community (Caricom) nationals allowed to live and work in Guyana as Skilled Nationals will now be allowed to bring their spouses and dependants to live and work indefinitely.

Foreign Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett on Thursday successfuly piloted an amendment to her country’s Caribbean Community Free Entry of Skilled Nationals Act to now allow for the spouse of a skilled national to work once verification of the Skilled Nationals Certificate issued to the principal beneficiary has been granted. “The amendments …allow the spouse the right to engage in gainful employment or other occupation without having to apply for a work permit once the certificate of the principal beneficiary is verified and indefinite duration is granted,” she told the National Assembly.  

She further explained that with those amendments no restrictions would be placed on the spouse and dependants of the principal beneficiary in relation to their freedom of movement, including the freedom to leave and re-enter Guyana without further permission.

The law has been also amended to provide for a Caricom Skilled National to apply to the Minister to have his or her Certificate verified. She said that once the verification process finds that the Certificate complies with the requirements, the holder of the Certificate can apply to the Chief Immigration Officer to remain in Guyana for a period of indefinite duration.

At the same time, changes to the law approved on Thursday empower the Foreign Minister to to disregard a certificate notwithstanding its verification, if the holder is found to have been convicted of certain offences.
While holders of Caricom Skilled Nationals Certificates await as much as six months to have their certificates verified, they will now be allowed to work while that processs is underway. Usually, Caricom nationals are given six months to stay on entering Guyana.

Guyana’s 1996 Caribbean Community (Free Entry of Skilled Nationals) Act. was amended in 2011 to allow for nine categories of skilled nationals: media workers, musicians, artistes, sports persons, teachers, registered nurses, persons holding associate degrees, artisans possessing a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) or an approved national vocational qualification and domestics who have obtained a CVQ.

The Foreign Minister forecast that Guyana would be attracting more Skilled Caricom Nationals as has been the case with Barbadians, Jamaicans and Belizeans in the aviation sector. “Guyana is a friendly country and we welcome our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean with open arms.
Today we are putting some additional legal mechanisms in place to ensure that their stay in Guyana will be worthwhile and enjoyable,” she said.

Guyanese judges, land surveyors, teachers, nurses, lawyers and security sector workers are among those who work across the Caribbean.

Editor’s Note: Guyana is a trendsetter. Other CARICOM countries have not yet adopted the policy of spouses being able to work without work permits.

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  • de castro  On 02/28/2014 at 6:56 am

    Certainly a step in the right direction on “economic migrants”..
    EU has similar laws in place but issues are different.
    “Unskilled” workers may wish to travel to areas
    where the “benefit” systems are more favourable.
    EG woman/man with three or more dependants
    wishing become residents of a neighbouring state.

    Obviously these are ongoing issues where laws
    have to be decided at an EU level and agreements reached
    on how to address issues….some form of reciprocal
    arrangement levied. A feeding frenzy for the powerful
    British media.

    Having said all that I would wish to congratulate the honourable
    Minister for her initiative….hope she takes it a step further as per
    my comments on the EU s dilemma above.

    goes hand in hand with “Monitoring and legislation” to curb abuse
    of the systems already in place.

    My concerns with the “spin” !
    Movement is growth
    Containment stagnation.


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