February 17, 2006

Wider movement of persons in CSM

CARICOM heads of Government agreed at last week’s 17th Inter-Sessional Meeting, that with respect to the free movement of Skilled Community Nationals in the new Single Market, it is even more urgent that the eligible categories of wage earners be expanded.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told local journalists at a press conference on Monday, February 13, this was one of the topical issues debated at the meeting.{{more}}

Currently, a limited number of skilled workers including University Graduates, Media Workers, Artistes, Sports Persons and Musicians are allowed to work in CARICOM without the need for work permits.

But at the meeting, a decision was taken to consult with the relevant stakeholders and develop recommendations for immediate expansion for consideration at their Regular Meeting in July.

Dr. Gonsalves said it was suggested that the categories of eligible workers be expanded to include Artisans, Domestics, Traders (traffickers), Teachers, Students and Nurses.

By December 2008 all CARICOM nationals should be able to move freely in the region.

“I doubt we’ll have free movement by 2008 but we’ll have an enlargement of the workers,” Dr. Gonsalves said of the issue.

“Rightly speaking there should be an enlargement of the workers,” Dr. Gonsalves noted referring to the eligible categories of wage earners.

One of the proposals raised at the meeting in relation to the enlargement of the categories is that from 2006 workers with Associate Degrees and the equivalent (including professional qualifications) be included, from 2007, CXC O’levels and equivalent, and 2008, all CARICOM nationals.