Jamaica Information Service
KINGSTON (JIS) — Jamaicans who have obtained a CARICOM skills certificate and wish to work in a member state are being asked to verify that their category of work is recognised outside of the country.
Verification can be obtained from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT).
Head of the Trade Agreements Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, David Prendergast, said that while Jamaica recognises all 10 categories of workers, other CARICOM states may not yet have the legislation or capacity to do the same.
“Jamaica, in implementing what CARICOM heads agree to, is often faster out of the blocks than some other countries that may not yet have the ability to recognise the qualifications,” he said, while addressing members of the Jamaica Household Workers’ Union at a sensitisation session yesterday (July 25).
He acknowledged that this can sometimes pose a challenge for domestic workers and other groups of workers who may want to seek job opportunities outside of Jamaica.
“You get your qualifications here and your skill certificate but if you go to another country they may say we don’t yet have the capacity to recognise this skill certificate,” he said.
Mr. Prendergast admitted that while getting all participating CARICOM member states to recognise all 10 categories of skilled workers is a work in progress Jamaican domestic workers stand to benefit significantly due to the demand for their skill “across the Caribbean”.
Meanwhile, Director of Work Permit in the MLSS, Lisa-Ann Grant said the process in Jamaica is much smoother for other CARICOM nationals. “Once we have verified that a CARICOM national received a skills certificate from their country then that person is landed indefinitely,” she informed.
Participating CARICOM member states that allow the free movement of people across the Caribbean without a work permit are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenades, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The categories of workers who can be issued skill certificates include: university graduates, media workers, sportspersons, artistes, musicians, teachers and nurses, artisans, technical and supervisory attached to a company, self-employed persons/service providers, and household domestics.