Applying for Jamaican Work Permits

I recently shared with you the readers an article I saw in the Gleaner Newspaper about “Expats needing  work permits”. Each week I either receive emails on the topic or see questions on the topic at various Expat  forums chat boards. This week I noticed a followup article about the steps one would take when applying for a “Jamaican work permits” and decided to share.

As an expat it’s important to know, that you may be allowed to stay in the country for 3-6 months on a Holiday, but once you decide to seek employment a work permit will be required.

LAWS OF EVE – Applying for Jamaican work permits?
Published: Monday | May 11, 2009

Gleaner Newspaper (Flair Magazine)

By: Sherry-Ann McGregor

From the last article we know  of the  various categories of foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens who must apply for work permits if they are to be employed in Jamaica. In this week’s article I will set out the documents which are required to be submitted to the Ministry of Labour when making applications for work permits:

1. Letter from local employer signed by director or company manager and addressed to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labour.

2. Completed work permit application forms.

3. Voucher for payment on non-refundable processing fee.

4. Proof of applicant’s academic and professional qualifications or letters of accreditation.

5. Applicant’s curriculum vitae outlining the applicant’s professional or business experience.

6. Police record issued by the security authority in the country or region where the applicant is domiciled.

7. Proof of business registration of local employer, such as business registration certificate or certificate of incorporation.

8. Copy of applicant’s contract of employment and job description.

9. Tax compliance certificate, if the local employer has been in operation for one year or more.

10. Certified copies of the pages of the applicant’s passport, which shows the applicant’s identity, passport number, dates of issue and expiry, landing status in Jamaica and relevant visa (where applicable).

11. Two passport size photographs of professional quality taken no more than six months prior to the application, certified by a justice of the peace or a notary public.

13. Completed Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) form signed by the applicant.

14. Proof of advertisement of job. (This may not be required in all cases.)

The current processing fee is $14,400 and is payable at any branch of the National Commercial Bank. All the necessary documents are to be submitted to the Ministry of Labour and, once the application has been approved, the employer is required to pay a work permit fee of $108,000 per year.  note ( all fees are in Jamaican currency, US. $1.00 is JA $ 89.00 dollars)

It is advisable that applicants or local employers contact the Ministry of Labour or an attorney-at-law for further advice in completing applications for Jamaican work permits or work permit exemptions as the procedure will differ. The steps will also be different if the applicant is self-employed or if the application is being made for the first time or for renewal.

Sherry-Ann McGregor is a partner and mediator with the firm Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon & Co.

Do I need a work permit? Jamaica

About twice a month I get emails about the above question, and while I have blogged about this particular topic one can never have too much information as it pertains to Jamaica and work permits.

I noticed a writer giving information on work permits in the local paper and felt the information may come in handy for people moving to Jamaica, so here is the article and link.

LAWS OF EVE – Do I need a work permit?
Published: Monday | May 4, 2009

Gleaner Newspaper (Flair Magazine)

By: Sherry-Ann McGregor

Most foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens must obtain valid work permits from the Minister of Labour and Social Security if they are to work in Jamaica in accordance with the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act.

The act defines a Commonwealth citizen as a person who has that status pursuant to section 9 of the Jamaican Constitution and is not a citizen of Jamaica or a member state of the Caribbean Community.

Foreign national: Someone who is not a citizen of Jamaica, the Commonwealth or a member state of the Caribbean Community.

The failure of the Commonwealth citizen or foreign national (hereinafter called ‘foreign worker’) or his employer to obtain a valid work permit constitutes a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment at hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding $200, or both. The employer can only be prosecuted with the sanction of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Once a work permit has been granted, the foreign worker must engage in work in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit. The minister has the discretion to vary or revoke it at any time. The foreign worker may be required to produce his work permit to a constable or an authorised person (for example an immigration officer) on demand or within three days.

Failure to comply without reasonable explanation makes that person liable to conviction and the individual may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment with or without hard labour, not exceeding three months, or a fine of $50.

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Permanent Residency In Jamaica

The Following article is written by: An American Retiree in Jamaica By John Casey
Published Mar 31, 2009

Permanent residency can be granted for retired people and those who have been employed in Jamaica for at least five years.  The process takes three years to complete, but it took five years for me.  This department of immigrations is not the most efficient.  My extra two years was a result of lost paperwork and lack of investigation by the clerks.

Each year you are required to visit the Kingston immigrations office where they will extend your temporary residency for another year.  At the same time you can purchase a multi entry visa.  A visa is a must if you plan on leaving the island during the coming year.  The visa and subsequent renewals require two trips to Kingston.  The first visit is to apply for the visa or renewal.  This process takes one week and proves that you are who you say you are.  The fee for each visa is JA $2,000.  I found obtaining the visa quite helpful as I travel two to three times a year for vacations and shopping trips.

Here is a list of the required “documents and particulars” to become a permanent resident:

1)      Valid National passport;

2)      Evidence of financial status and means of support – for example, particulars on pension, bank account, property owned and business investments;

3)      Birth certificate;

4)      Marital status – marriage certificate – particulars of spouse, children, and other dependents;

5)      Medical certificate – certificate of good health;

6)      Police certificate from the state which you are migrating;

7)      Two (2) passport size photos;

8)      Reasons for seeking permanent residence in Jamaica;

9)      Letters of references from two reputable citizens of Jamaica.

Permanent residency is usually granted to the following categories of persons:

A)    Wives of Jamaican nationals without meeting any residency requirements;

B)    Adults and minors who have claim to Jamaican nationality without meeting any residency requirements;

C)    Retired persons who have resided in Jamaica for at least three years;

D)    Persons employed in Jamaica after completing a period of residency of at least five years;

E)     Minors who have no claim to Jamaican nationality who have resided in the island for a period of 2-4 years.

The sooner these documents and particulars are presented to immigrations, the sooner they can begin their investigation.  The most difficult report for me to obtain was from the Massachusetts state police.  It was something that could not be done in person but only by mail or through the internet.  Even so, my initial request was lost.

Most of the other required information was much easier to produce.  Finding two reputable people to write a letter of reference is not easy for someone new to the island.  I was able to get these letters from prominent people in my neighborhood.  One area immigrations is very meticulous about is with the financial aspect.  They want to be assured that you will have ample funds for as long as you live and that your survivors will be taken care of.  Proving lifetime pension benefits requires statements from their source and not just check stubs.

Towards the end of the three year process, the police conduct interviews with you and your neighbors as part of their investigation into your conduct while living in Jamaica.  Besides the personal questions, they look around your home to see what kind of lifestyle you are living.  For this reason, and perhaps others, there isn’t any notice given before the interview.

I think the best advice I can offer you once the permanent residency process has been started is to turn in as quickly as possible all the information they require and to keep on top of them.  Calls to immigrations should be made a few times during the year so you can check on the progress of their investigation.  I failed to do that in the beginning and, as a result, it took nearly two additional years for them to complete their investigation.  It is better for them to know you well than not a t all.  Later…