What is the CARICOM Single Market & 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 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.
The Single Market comprises five (5) regimes:
- Free movement of
- Free movement of goods
- Free movement of services
- Free movement of capital
- The right of establishment
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
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.
The Benefits of the Holder of a 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.
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.
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.