With its passage, a proposed amendment to the Caricom Community (Free Entry of Skilled Nationals) Act will see the widening of the categories of ‘skilled nationals’ eligible for free movement in the region.
Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett tabled the amendment last Thursday.
Under the proposed amendment, university graduates, media workers, musicians, artistes, sports persons, teachers, registered nurses, persons holding associate degrees, artisans possessing a Caribbean vocational qualification or an approved vocational qualification and domestics who have obtained a Caribbean vocational qualification would be eligible for a Schedule II Certificate.
Certificates may also be given to any qualification certified by the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community under section 9 as satisfying the qualification requirement of the Act, and qualification which the Minister may by order prescribe.
Under the existing legislation, persons with degrees from either the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies or University of Suriname as well as any other comparable university degree may qualify for a certificate. Persons with qualifications certified by the Secretary-General of CARICOM and the Minister may qualify.
Schedule I of the Principal Act, which gives the qualifying Caribbean Community States, will also be amended, with the only change being the inclusion of the Bahamas in the list, bringing the total up to 14 countries.