The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) was established in 2001 under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was signed in 1973. This was in response to economic challenges, globalization and trade liberalization among CARICOM nationals, which further reinforced the need for greater integration in the Caribbean. There are twelve (12) participating member states which are:
Free Movement of Skilled People
Solid basic skills, critical thinking, lifelong learning, and technological literacy are important to facilitate an effective free movement of persons under the CSME arrangement throughout the region. As such, one of the most important elements of the CSME that is in progress is the establishment of a Regional Accreditation Body, to oversee accreditation and equivalency of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications.
The CSME provides for the free movement of certain categories of skilled labour, but according to the Policy there is to be eventual free movement of all persons.
Since the start of the CSME, the 14 categories of CARICOM nationals listed below have become eligible for free movement throughout the CSME without the need for work permits. These include Agricultural Workers, Security Guards, Beauticians and Barbers which were added in late 2018.
Type of workers for CSME Jobs
CSME Certificate Issued by Jamaica
Between April 2014 and March 2019, a total of 1,549 certificates were issued by Jamaica. Males comprised 53.3 per cent of the total. The trend for the period shows that more certificate were issued in the first two (2) years and there was a gradual reduction in the last three(3) years.
How to Apply for the CSME Skills Certificate
Since April 1, 2014 persons applying for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Qualifying Skills Certificates have to pay fees for the processing and preparation of the documents. Applicants under Regulation 2 of the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, are charged a non-refundable application fee of J$2,000 for the issuance of a certificate. In addition, there’s a processing fee of J$8,000, and a further J$2,000 for each dependent.
Amendment of certificates will cost applicants J$2,000, and in the event that a certificate is lost, stolen or destroyed, applicants will be required to pay J$3,000 to replace the document.
When applying for the skills certificates, all photocopied documents must be signed by a Justice of the Peace. The applicant must also submit a letter of verification from the relevant institution, certifying that he or she has completed the programme of study as stated on the qualifications.
Based on stipulations that must be adhered to by CSME, if applicant’s qualification is not from the University of the West Indies; the University of Technology; Northern Caribbean University; Mico University College; the University of Guyana; and the University of Suriname, as recognised by the Act, that applicant must take the qualification documents to the University Council of Jamaica to be verified.
Statistics show that two hundred and thirty nine (239) certificates were issued to CARICOM nationals for Fiscal year 2017/2018. Jamaica has received 4,379 of these certificates from inception accounting for 84.1 per cent of certificates issued while Trinidad and Tobago is the second largest nationality to receive CSME certificates
Health, Education Benefits and Under the CSME
On July 6, 2018 a signing took place which saw six (6) CARICOM countries agreeing to facilitate benefits for spouses and dependents of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals who have relocated to other Member States. They benefits include health and education services which covers the categories of persons such as graduates from all recognized universities, musicians, media workers, artistes, nurses, teachers, artisans with the necessary Caribbean Vocational qualifications issued by HEART Trust and holders of an Associate Degree or comparable qualifications which was not granted to them in previous times.
Social Security benefits under the CSME
Article 46.2.(b).(iv) of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas calls for the “harmonization and transferability of social security benefits”. Another article [Article 75.2(b)] indicates that reciprocal social security agreements should be negotiated by the member states. In order to minimize the possibility of persons losing their social security benefits as they try to take advantage of opportunities in the region, the CSME now addresses the transferability of long term social security benefits.
The CARICOM Agreement on Social Security was signed in Georgetown, Guyana on March 1, 1996 and came into effect on April 1, 1997 which outlines the social security benefits of migrant CARICOM workers and seeks to ensure equal treatment as they move from one member state to another. It allows for benefits to be determined and payments made based on all the contributions made to several different social security organizations. This will ensure that persons who are retiring do not suffer a decline in income due to insufficient contribution periods to any one social security organization. Article 2 of the CARICOM Agreement indicates that it covers:
- Invalidity pension;
- Disablement pension;
- Survivors’ pension;
- Death benefits in the form of pension and
- Old age and retirement pension.