CSME - CARICOM Single Market and Economy
Welcome to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)
All you need to know about the CSME
What is the CARICOM Single Market and 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 implementation of the CSME has been a top priority for Trinidad and Tobago and to date
the Single Market component has been implemented in some twelve (12) CARICOM Member States including Trinidad and
The Single Market comprises five (5) regimes:
- Free movement of skills/labour
- Free movement of goods
- Free movement of services
- Free movement of capital
- The right of establishment
HOW DO CARICOM NATIONALS IN THE APPROVED CATEGORIES MOVE TO WORK IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE?
CARICOM nationals who fall into any of the approved categories and wish to work in another participating CSME Member State must apply for and be granted a Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills Qualification (Skills Certificate). A CARICOM national who has been issued with a Skills Certificate in Trinidad and Tobago would be allowed an indefinite stay subject to all immigration requirements. A Trinidad and Tobago national who has been issued with a Skill Certificate from Trinidad and Tobago would be required to verify his/her qualifications with the respective Competent Authority in the Member State in which he/she wishes to work.
It is advisable that sufficient research is conducted prior to leaving one’s home country. Such research would include, but is not be limited to, immigration requirements, documents necessary for the Skills Certificate, which institutions function as the Competent Authority and the national laws that must be upheld.
The minimum timeline for the processing of applications for the Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills Qualification (Skills Certificate) is six (6) to eight (8) weeks. Applicants will be notified accordingly.
Download application form below:
THE STAGES FOR CSME SKILLS CERTIFICATE APPROVAL ARE AS FOLLOWS:
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 also fall within one of the categories that have been approved for free movement.
WHICH 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
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago.
WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES THAT HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 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
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.
The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago provides recognition status of tertiary level institutions and programmes operating locally and internationally. Please visit their website for more information on recognition and accreditation – http://www.actt.org.tt
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.
BENEFITS FOR HOLDER OF THE 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 license/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
PROCEDURE AFTER RECEIVING A SKILLS CERTIFICATE
- On entry into a CSME participating country, CSME nationals receive an automatic 6 months;
- Within this 6 month period, all holders of CSME Skills Certificates must have their Certificate verified by the competent authority of that country. This is usually requested by the employer or by the Immigration Division. A list of the competent authorities can be found in the CSME booklet attached below;
- Once the Skills Certificate is verified as authentic the holder, his/her spouse, and dependents may reside in the Member State;
REPLACEMENT OF CSME SKILLS CERTIFICATE
The holder of a Skills Certificate issued in Trinidad and Tobago who
wishes to apply for a replacement because there has been a change in
his/her name, marital status or passport number, should submit the
following documents to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs:
- completed application form
- valid passport
- original and copy of Skills Certificate issued by Trinidad and Tobago
- original and copy of document which identifies change(s) e.g. marriage certificate, passport, deed poll
- two (2) identical passport sized photos
Lost/Stolen Skills Certificates
A CARICOM national (including nationals of Trinidad and Tobago) whose
Skills Certificate was lost or stolen must report the lost/stolen Skills
Certificate to the Police in the country where the certificate was lost
He/she must submit the following documents to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs to apply for a replacement Certificate:
- The original and copy of the Police Report stating that the Skills Certificate was lost or stolen (the original will be returned to the applicant)
- An affidavit swearing that the Skills Certificate was lost or stolen, approximately where and when it was lost or stolen and that it was not sold or transferred to anyone
- Passport (original and copy)
- Two (2) passport sized photos
- Completed application form
- Copy of previously issued Skills Certificate
ENTRY OF CARICOM NATIONALS INTO TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
A CARICOM national who is seeking to enter Trinidad and Tobago would be granted a definite entry of six (6) months, subject to having satisfied all immigration requirements. During this period, the CARICOM national is required to apply for a Skills Certificate at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs. When the Certificate has been issued he/she is obligated to visit the Immigration Division in order to be granted with an indefinite entry stamp.
It is advised that persons apply at least three (3) months in advance of the expiration of the immigration stamp and Police Certificates of Character.
OBLIGATIONS OF SKILLED CARICOM NATIONALS
While skilled CARICOM nationals are afforded several rights under the CSME regime, recipients must be mindful of their obligations when exercising the right to free movement. In this regard, their obligations include but are not limited to:
- A valid Skills Certificate issued by a Member State in order to work
- A valid passport from a CARICOM Member State
- Be truthful at all times to the relevant authorities of the Member State
- Obey the laws of the Member State
- Make taxation and national insurance payments in accordance with local laws in the same way as nationals of the Member State
CARICOM COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
A CARICOM national arriving in, transiting or departing a Caribbean Community Member State, and or seeking to exercise a right under the CSME, may have had certain experiences about which he / she wishes to file a complaint with the relevant authorities. The experience(s) may have been at a port of entry, after entry into a Member State, or both.
The complaints procedure is proposed to assist CARICOM nationals in the exercising of their rights under the Treaty.
- A CARICOM national wishing to make a complaint shall fill out the complaints form at this link or use the fillable form option here.
- The completed form shall be returned (in person / by mail / electronically) to the CSME Focal Point of the receiving country or the home country of the CARICOM national within five (5) working days of the date of the incident.
- The CARICOM national may be contacted in the event that additional information is needed to commence the investigation or during the investigation.
- The CSME Focal Point for Trinidad and Tobago can be contacted at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.
Where do I get more information?
For more information or assistance, please contact:
Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs
St. Clair Circle
Port of Spain
Tel: (868) 623-6894 or (868) 285-5029
Right of Establishment Desk:
(868) 623-6894 Ext. 2035
Skills Certificate Desk:
Tel: (868) 623-6894 Ext. 2800
E-mail contact for the CSME Unit for further queries – firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Please make use of our frequently asked questions (FAQs) before directing any further inquires to staff.
All relevant application forms can be found below:
- CSME Application Form
- Application Form - Service Provider
- CSME Application Form - Replacement
- Right of Establishment Form
- Right of Establishment Form for Managerial and Supervisory Staff
- Right of Establishment Extension Form
- CARICOM Complaints Form
- CSME - Free Movement Travel and Work
- Medical Forms 40 and 40a (Immigration Regulations 1974)
"The CSME is therefore intended to better position Member States to grow by having access to and using the resources of the region as a whole rather than relying only on the resources of the resources of the particular Member state."
Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS NOT USED AS A REPLACEMENT FOR THE REVISED TREATY OF CHAGUARAMAS OR THE LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO