Security guards, agricultural workers to benefit from free movement facility within CARICOM

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Security guards and agricultural workers are expected to have an easier time moving across the Region for work in the near future.

According to a media release from the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM’s Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Labour is doing its part to move the process forward by having a special meeting this week to further discussions on the matter.

This meeting of Ministers of Labour from across the Region will be held via videoconference, on Wednesday 6 February 2019 from 10:00 am.

Assistant Secretary General, Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, and Chairman of the meeting, Minister of Labour and Small Enterprises and Development, Trinidad and Tobago Mrs. Jennifer Baptiste Primus, will give brief remarks at the opening.

According to Secretariat, this Special Meeting of the COHSOD will seek to advance efforts towards implementing the mandate from the CARICOM Heads of Government for Agricultural Workers and Security Guards to move under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The COHSOD is to advise on the avenues that can be used to facilitate the movement of Community nationals in these categories.  In particular, the Meeting will determine definitions of these categories and the mechanisms to be used to assess who is an agricultural worker or security guard. A definition of household domestics will also be considered.

The Council will be guided by proposals from consultations with stakeholders in the agriculture and security sectors held on 15 January 2019.  Delegates will also be guided by discussions that took place in September and November of 2018 regarding the definition of household domestics at the Twentieth Meeting of Officials on the Free Movement of Skills and the Facilitation of Travel and the Forty-Seventh Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the release added.

The CARICOM Heads of Government, at their Eighteenth Special Meeting on the CSME (3 – 4 December 2018) agreed to extend the categories of nationals entitled to move across the Region to include Agricultural Workers and Security Guards under the CSME.  The Conference agreed that these additional categories are to be facilitated administratively by the end of February 2019 and implemented into legislation by Member States by the end of July. The Conference had agreed previously that household domestics with a Caribbean Vocational Qualification were eligible to move under the CSME.

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