The employment of non-Jamaicans in Jamaica is governed by the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, 1964, which seeks to ensure that qualified Jamaicans are given first consideration in employment opportunities. At the same time, it is recognized that the expertise needed for economic development is not always available because of shortage in the supply of certain special skills.
Non-Jamaicans seeking employment in Jamaica are required to obtain work permits. Work permits are granted at the discretion of the Minister of Labour, 1F North Street, Kingston, Jamaica, W.I.
Commonwealth Citizens may apply for work permits after arrival in Jamaica and for such holders of work permits their relatives over 18 years of age, with special skills, may also apply for work permits.
Non-Commonwealth citizens must apply for a work permit prior to arrival in Jamaica. United States citizens are considered non-Commonwealth citizens (i.e. foreigners or aliens) since the United States of America is not a member country of the British Commonwealth of Nations’ organization. United States citizens are therefore required to ensure that work permits are obtained before applying for work visas at either a Jamaican Embassy or Consulate.
Application forms, obtainable at the Government Printing Office, must be completed, signed and submitted by the prospective employer and must be accompanied by the required documentation including proof by the prospective employer that the vacancy was advertised and did not attract any suitably qualified Jamaicans.
Work visas are issued solely on the basis of evidence of a confirmed job offer. Documentation to be presented on application in this regard are:
a) valid national passport;
b) original letter from organization affirming job offer;
original work permit approval signed by or on behalf of the Minister of Labour;
c) completed visa application form accompanied by one (1) passport-size photograph.
Spouses of Jamaican nationals may be exempted from Work Permits on application accompanied by:
a) certificate of marriage; in cases where a previous marriage occurred, a Decree Absolute is required to be presented;
b) proof of Jamaican citizenship enjoyed by spouse, however acquired;
c) passport of each spouse and passport-size photograph of each;
d) declaration by both spouses that they share the same matrimonial home.
The Ministry of Labour must be informed of change of residence from one parish to another by all foreigners employed in Jamaica.
All individuals are landed at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. In this connection, they are required to have on arrival, return tickets (open tickets are advisable) and valid passports with the travel documents (including airline ticket), to the Immigration Office located at 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, which will endorse the passport for the duration of the work permit and issue a certificate to the Ministry of Labour, on the basis of which the work permit will be released. The validity of the permit is enforced at the discretion of the Minister of Labour.
Please be advised that if the passport expires within the period for which the work permit was granted, the endorsement will cover only the period for which the passport is valid.
NB. Work permit forms are obtainable at the Jamaican High Commission appropriate Jamaican visa.
Persons who arrive in Jamaica from countries where there are no Jamaican visa-issuing authorities must also present a letter from the Minister of Labour approving the work permit application. Upon landing, all prospective employees must, prior to taking up employment, take the letter, along with