What is the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)?
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is an arrangement among the CARICOM Member States for the creation of a single enlarged economic space through the removal of restrictions resulting in the free movement of goods, services, persons, capital and technology and it confers the right of CARICOM Nationals to establish a business in any participating CARICOM Member State. The implementation of the CSME has been a top priority for Trinidad and Tobago and to date the Single Market component has been implemented in some twelve (12) CARICOM Member States including Trinidad and Tobago.
The Single Market comprises five (5) regimes:
- Free movement of skills/labour
- Free movement of goods
- Free movement of services
- Free movement of capital
- The right of establishment
The CSME is an essential element of integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is intended to benefit the people of the region by providing more and better opportunities for employment, to produce and sell our goods and services and to attract investment. It is aimed at creating one large market among the participating CSME Member States.
The main objectives of the CSME are:
- Full use of labour (full employment)
- Full exploitation of the other factors of production (natural resources and capital)
- Competitive production leading to greater variety and quantity of products and services to trade with other countries
It is expected that these objectives will in turn provide improved standards of living and work and sustained economic development.
FREE MOVEMENT OF SKILLS/LABOUR
The Free Movement of Skills/Labour
The free movement of skills/labour includes the right of a CARICOM national under Article 46 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to seek work and/or engage in gainful employment in any of the participating CSME Member States, without the need to obtain a work permit in the Member State in which he/she wishes to work.
Free Movement of Skills is NOT a Right to Permanent Residency or Citizenship
There are currently no rights regarding free movement solely for the purposes of residency or permanent naturalization or citizenship. If a person wishes to migrate from one CARICOM Member State to live in another he/she must apply for residency or citizenship in accordance with the laws of the host country.
Persons who are eligible for free movement of skills/labour must be engaged in some kind of legitimate economic activity. They must fall within one of the categories that have been approved for free movement.
What are the participating CSME Member States for the Purpose of Free Movement?
A participating CSME Member State refers to any CARICOM country that has signed on to the CSME arrangements and ratified the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. For the purpose of Free Movement, these include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago.
What are the categories that have been approved for free movement?
According to Article 46 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas the following categories of CARICOM nationals have the right to seek employment in any of the participating CSME Member States:
- University Graduates
- Media Workers
recognised as such by the Competent Authorities in the receiving Member States. The Competent Authority for the CSME in Trinidad and Tobago is the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.
If a CARICOM national does not fall in any of the above-mentioned categories, then he/she must apply for a Work Permit from the receiving Member State. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of National Security handles applications for Work Permits.
University Graduates - University Graduates, for the purpose of free movement of skills, are persons who have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized University.
The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago provides recognition status of tertiary level institutions and programmes operating locally and internationally. Please visit their website for more information on recognition and accreditation – http://www.actt.org.tt
Artistes - Artistes, for the purpose of free movement of skills are persons who are active in or qualified to enter a particular field of art with the specific purpose to earn a living.
Media Workers - Media Workers are persons whose sole source of income is derived from media and media-related work and are qualified to enter this field.
Sportspersons - Sportspersons, for the purpose of free movement of skills, are persons who are active in or qualified to enter a particular field of sports with the specific purpose of earning a living as a professional or semi-professional.
HOW DO CARICOM NATIONALS IN THE APPROVED CATEGORIES MOVE TO SEEK WORK?
CARICOM nationals who fall into any of the approved categories and wish to work in another participating CSME Member State must apply for and be granted a Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills Qualification (Skills Certificate). < /br> A CARICOM national who has been issued with a Skills Certificate in Trinidad and Tobago would be allowed an indefinite stay subject to all immigration requirements. A Trinidad and Tobago national who has been issued with a Skill Certificate from Trinidad and Tobago would be required to verify his/her qualifications with the respective Competent Authority in the Member State in which he/she wishes to work.
It is advisable that sufficient research is conducted prior to leaving one’s home country. Such research would include but not be limited to immigration requirements, documents necessary for the Skills Certificate, which institutions function as the Competent Authority and national laws that must be upheld.
The minimum timeline for the processing of applications for the Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills Qualification (Skills Certificate) is six (6) to eight (8) weeks.
Click to Download the Application Form with Details attached. Please follow and provide the necessary information where applicable. Updated November 3rd, 2015.
BENEFITS FOR HOLDER OF THE SKILLS CERTIFICATE
The benefits of being issued with a Skills Certificate from the host country include but are not limited to the following:
- There is no restriction on freedom of movement, including the freedom to leave and re-enter his or her host country
- There is a wider pool of opportunities available for employment
- There is freedom to buy or rent property for residential or commercial use (this may not apply to all Member States since some Member States would require a special licence/permit)
- Spouses and immediate dependent family members are allowed to move with the holder of the Skills Certificate
- There is no need to obtain a Work Permit
Replacement of CSME Skill Certificate
The holder of a Skills Certificate issued in Trinidad and Tobago who wishes to apply for a replacement because there has been a change in his/her name, marital status or passport number, should submit the following documents to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs:
- completed application form
- valid passport
- original and copy of Skills Certificate issued by Trinidad and Tobago
- original and copy of document which identifies change(s) e.g. marriage certificate, passport, deed poll
- two (2) identical passport sized photos
Lost/Stolen Skills Certificates
A CARICOM national (including nationals of Trinidad and Tobago) whose Skills Certificate was lost or stolen must report the lost/stolen Skills Certificate to the Police in the country where the certificate was lost or stolen.
He/she must submit the following documents to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs to apply for a replacement Certificate:
- The original and copy of the Police Report stating that the Skills Certificate was lost or stolen (the original will be returned to the applicant)
- An affidavit swearing that the Skills Certificate was lost or stolen, approximately where and when it was lost or stolen and that it was not sold or transferred to anyone
- Passport (original and copy)
- Two (2) passport sized photos
- Completed application form
- Copy of previously issued Skills Certificate
ENTRY OF CARICOM NATIONALS INTO TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
A CARICOM national who is seeking to enter Trinidad and Tobago would be granted a definite entry of six (6) months subject to having satisfied all immigration requirements. During this period, the CARICOM national is required to apply for a Skills Certificate at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs. When the Certificate has been issued he/she is obligated to visit the Immigration Division in order to be granted with an indefinite entry stamp.
It is advised that persons apply long in advance of the expiration of the immigration stamp and Police Certificates of Character.
OBLIGATIONS OF SKILLED CARICOM NATIONALS
While skilled CARICOM nationals are afforded several rights, they must be mindful of their obligations when exercising the right to free movement. In this regard, their obligations include but are not limited to:
- Have a valid Skills Certificate issued by a Member State in order to work
- Have a valid CARICOM passport
- Be truthful at all times to the relevant authorities of the Member State
- Obey the laws of the Member State
- Make taxation and national insurance payments in accordance with local laws in the same way as nationals of the Member State they have entered.
Where to get more information?
For more information or assistance, please contact:
Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs
Levels 10-14, Tower C, Waterfront Complex
1A Wrightson Road
Port of Spain
Tel: (868) 623-6894
E-mail contact for the CSME Unit for further queries – email@example.com
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