This, she said, would allow for a streamlining and standardisation of certificates and the application for workers to move within the Caribbean.
“Jamaica’s position is that this is something that has been on the books for seven to 10 years… and we think that if member states are committed to implementing and committed to ensuring that our people experience the CSME in a way that is real and important to them, then the movement of skilled workers is something that should be moved up in the implementation plan,” she said.
Mrs. Johnson Smith was speaking to journalists following the first plenary session at the 38th meeting of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Grand Anse, Grenada, on Wednesday .
She noted that the full implementation of the CSME, specifically as it relates to free movement of labour and the implementation of all 10 categories of skilled workers, was one of the issues raised by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, during the first working session.
Noting that only three countries have implemented all 10 categories of skilled workers, Mrs. Johnson Smith stressed that this is something that should be mandated in the short term, and not in the medium and long term as stated in the implementation plan which is “maybe two years down the line”.
She noted that CARICOM member states have indicated that they are in favour of full implementation of the CSME regime.
“While some countries are still saying that they are concerned about inflows from larger countries, the general sense was that each member state wants the CSME to be implemented,” she said.
The CSME is an integrated development strategy, which is intended to benefit the people of the region by providing more and better opportunities to produce and sell goods and services and to attract investment.
It was established under the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to which Jamaica is party.
Jamaica has enacted legislation to bring the provisions of the Treaty and the CSME regime into full effect under domestic law.
The CSME is built on five core regimes: free movement of capital, free movement of goods, free movement of skills, the provision of services, and the right of establishment. In addition, the CSME facilitates hassle-free travel for all CARICOM nationals.
Jamaica implemented the CSME regime in January 2006 with the implementation of the Single Market. Since then, the country has adopted legislation, including the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons Act), which provides for the movement of skilled nationals in 10 approved categories across the region.
Persons in these categories do not need to apply for work permits. They are graduates of all recognised universities, artistes, musicians, sportspersons, media workers, nurses, teachers, artisans with Caribbean vocational qualifications (such as those issued by Heart Trust/NTA), and holders of associate degrees or comparable qualifications.
- Countries: Jamaica